The arrest of a suspected accomplice may support the theory of the attempted assassination being the result of an organized terror plot, the The Cypriot police said.
By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News
Cypriot police have arrested a 27-year-old Pakistani man who detectives believe to be connected to the attempted assassination of Israeli businesspeople in Cyprus, which according to Israeli estimations was orchestrated by Iran.
Local media in Cyprus has reported that the suspect was employed as a food delivery man and was arrested on Wednesday in the coastal city of Paphos. Police found and confiscated three mobile phones after raiding his apartment.
He is suspected of acting as an accomplice to the prime suspect in the case, an Azari citizen who was arrested on September 27 with a pistol, a silencer and a Russian passport in his possession.
Cypriot media has noted that the Pakistani suspect was arrested after police had examined “personal data” belonging to the Azari suspect, indicating that both suspects were recently in contact.
The arrest may support the theory of the attempted assassination being the result of an organized terror plot rather than criminal activity, a statement issued by the Cypriot police noted, recanting previous statements that said that the investigation was focusing on unsettled debts being the reason behind the attempted assassination of Israeli billionaire Tedi Sagi and others who were with him in Cyprus at the time.
Following the police statement, a Cypriot court ordered all proceedings in the case to be held behind closed doors.
The Azari national, who arrived in Cyprus 20 days prior to his arrest, was not cooperating with police, according to local media. The arrest of a suspected accomplice is the first big breakthrough police have had in the case, after failing to trace the whereabouts of the Azari suspect prior to his arrest.
Israel has insisted from the beginning that the attempted assassination was not limited to Sagi and was planned by Iran as a terror plot against Israeli citizens in Cyprus, as an act of revenge for the 2020 targeted killing of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, attributed to the Mossad.
“This was an act of terror that was orchestrated by Iran against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the time.
Israeli security experts have speculated that the suspect did not act alone and was part of a group of trained assassins who made their way to Cyprus from the Turkish-controlled part of the divided island.