Greek security, aided by Mossad, thwarts mass-casualty attacks on kosher restaurant, synagogue

The suspects belong to a “wide Iranian network that operates from Iran and out of many countries,” the intelligence agency said.

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

Greek police arrested two men of Pakistani origin accused of planning a mass-casualty attack against Israelis and Jews on behalf of Iran, authorities announced on Tuesday.

The suspects, aged 27 and 29, belong to a “wide Iranian network that operates from Iran and out of many countries,” according to the Mossad, Israel’s world-renowned intelligence agency.

The two suspects entered Greece illegally from neighboring Turkey and had been in the country for at least four months. As part of their investigation, police searched multiple sites in Athens as well as in southern Greece and on the western island of Zakynthos.

The arrests were made because massive attacks at a kosher restaurant and a synagogue in Athens were believed to be imminent, police and government officials said. The two men in custody are scheduled to be questioned by a public prosecutor Friday.

“Their aim was not only to cause the loss of life of innocent citizens, but also to undermine the sense of security in the country, while hurting public institutions and threatening (Greece’s) international relations,” a police statement said.

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“The affair that was uncovered today in Greece is a severe case that was successfully thwarted by the Greek security forces. It was an additional attempt by Iran to perpetrate terrorism against Israeli and Jewish targets abroad,” the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on behalf of Mossad.

“After the start of the investigation of the suspects in Greece, the Mossad rendered intelligence assistance in unraveling the infrastructure, its work methods and the link to Iran. The investigation revealed that the infrastructure that operated in Greece is part of an extensive Iranian network run from Iran and spanning many countries.

“The Mossad, together with its partners in the community, is working relentlessly to thwart intended Iranian attacks around the world,” the statement concluded.

“The operation demonstrates that the country’s security authorities maintain a high state of readiness for all Greeks and all visitors to our country,” Public Order Minister Takis Theodorikakos said in a tweet.

“Terrorism is a common enemy, and the fight against it is our top priority,” Foreign Minister Eli Cohen wrote on Twitter. “I want to thank the Greek government and the Greek intelligence and security services for thwarting the terrorist attack against Jewish and Israeli targets.”