Azerbaijan arrest terrorists targeting U.S and Israel
Azerbaijan security services have captured 22 in the capital of Baku who they say have been hired by Iran to plot terrorists attack against the U.S and Israeli embassies as well as western affiliated companies. It is unspecified when the arrest were made.
The national security ministry clarified on Wednesday that the the 22 men were all Azerbaijan citizens and have been trained by by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in Iran, the country’s southern neighbor, The Associated Press reported.
All automatic assault rifles, ammunition, grenades, and explosives were taken upon their arrest. Jewish organization offices, the local headquarters of BP oil, and an American-themed fast food restaurant were among the alleged targets.
U.S State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, said Wednesday that the department was trying to gain a better understanding of the plot and those suspects behind it.
“We are in the process of coordinating with our embassy in Baku,” she told reporters.
The Associated Press reported that in 2007, 15 suspects were convicted in Azerbaijan for being affiliated with an Iranian-linked spy network that was allegedly sending intelligence on Western and Israeli operations. Azerbaijan also made two arrests this past January, speculating that the men were plotting to kill two teachers working in a Jewish school in Baku. Even more recently, arrest were made in February with another group of terrorists believed to be working for Iran’s secret services.
Azerbaijan, nestled between Russia and Iran, plays a close role with the United States in conducting Western-led counter-terrorist programs. The country’s foreign policy has weakened its relations with Iran, which is home to a relatively large ethnic Azeri population.