Azerbaijan Official: Iran Trained Suspects to Attack Israeli Targets

Azeri authorities say 22 people arrested over alleged plan to attack Jewish, U.S. targets in capital of Baku recruited, funded by Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

Iran trained and funded a suspected plot to attack Israeli and western targets in Azerbaijan, an Azeri security official said on Wednesday, claiming that the suspects were instructed by Iranian officials to strike Israeli, Jewish, and U.S. targets.

Earlier Tuesday, AFP reported that Azerbaijan authorities arrested 22 people suspected of plotting to attack the Israeli and American embassies in the capital Baku, adding that Iran's Revolutionary Guards was reportedly behind the plot.

Baku, Azerbaijan - AP - 18.1.12

Later in the day, Arif Babayev, an official at the country's Ministry of National Security, indicated that the suspects conducted ties with Iranian intelligence through which they acquired explosives and arms meant to be used in an attack against such targets as Israel's embassy in Baku, as well as the Jewish Agency's offices in the capital.

According to Babayev, the group was arrested over "illicit ties" with Iranian intelligence organizations, mainly Iran's Revolutionary Guard (IRG), which the official said recruited the suspects.

One of those arrested, Niazi Krimov, is suspected of being recruited by an IRG official during his visit to the Iranian city of Mashhad.

Krimov is claimed to have then sought after Azeri nationals willing to take part in attacks of Israel's embassy, as well as that of the United States and other western countries in exchange for monetary reward.

The Azeri official said that those recruited were then reportedly trained in Iranian military bases near the capital of Tehran as well as near the city of Karaj, adding that they were given a considerable sum of U.S. dollars and instructed to perpetrate the attacks.

In addition, members of the suspected espionage and terror ring flew to Iran through Moscow or Syria as to prevent suspicions being raised concerning their frequent visits to the Islamic Republic.

While in Baku, the suspects allegedly surveyed the Jewish Agency's offices and other Jewish organizations, as well as such sites as the "American Fast Food" restaurant, and BP offices in the Azeri capital, with all collected material transferred to Iran.