Six charged with plotting terror attack against Israelis in Cyprus

Some 50 charges have been brought against the suspects, at least 40 of which reportedly concern a 38-year-old Azeri-Russian hitman named Orkhan Asadov.

 People wearing protective masks walk next to a Cypriot flag painted on a wall in capital Nicosia, Cyprus (photo credit: YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU/REUTERS)
People wearing protective masks walk next to a Cypriot flag painted on a wall in capital Nicosia, Cyprus
(photo credit: YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU/REUTERS)

Six suspects have been charged for allegedly trying to carry out a terrorist attack against Israelis living in Cyprus, Cypriot daily Politis reported at the weekend.

According to the report, about 50 charges have been brought to the suspects, some 40 of them concern a 38-year-old Azeri-Russian hitman named Orkhan Asadov. It is believed he was paid $40,000 to carry out the attack.

Asadov was arrested on September 27 and the case drew attention earlier this month, when billionaire Teddy Sagi said that he was tipped off by the Israeli authorities – probably the Mossad – that assassins were after him, and he escaped Cyprus, where he lives, to Israel.

An accomplice of the Azeri hitman, a 27-year-old Pakistani food distributor working for a major company, was arrested in Paphos, Cyprus, in mid-October. Communications between the Pakistani and Azeri men were found on the latter’s phone. A uniform from the major food company was found in the Azeri assassin’s possession, likely supplied by the Pakistani man to be used as a disguise.

The Pakistani man is also suspected to have links to a Syria-based Shi'ite militia known as Liwa Zainebiyoun.

 Police vehicles arrive at a court, where a remand order was issued against a man suspected of plotting to murder Israeli businesspeople on the island, in Nicosia, Cyprus  (credit: YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU/REUTERS) Police vehicles arrive at a court, where a remand order was issued against a man suspected of plotting to murder Israeli businesspeople on the island, in Nicosia, Cyprus (credit: YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU/REUTERS)

The Azeri assassin intended to hit his target and then escape to Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus through a pedestrian crossing on an electric scooter. He reportedly did not arouse suspicion when he appeared on surveillance cameras. No residence was found for the would-be assassin in Cyprus and local the authorities assume he was living in the north.

Politis reported that Asadov told police he was offered the money by a man identified only as "Mohammed" whom it is alleged asked Asadov to intimidate Israelis in Cyprus who owe him money.

The next court hearing for the suspects has been set for December 6, Politis reported.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.