Kenya convicts two Iranians of planning to attack Western, Israeli targets
Kenyan anti-terror officials says suspects are members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard.
A Kenyan court has found two Iranian nationals guilty of planning to attack Western targets in Kenya.
Magistrate Kaire Waweru Kiare said Thursday the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt all counts against the two.
Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammed and Sayed Mansour Mousavi were charged with preparing to commit acts intended to cause grievous harm after they were arrested in June 2012 and led officials to a 15-kilogram (33-pound) stash of the explosive RDX.
"I must appreciate our Kenyan security personnel for detecting and taking swift action to stop the catastrophe and ensure our country was safe," Waweru Kiarie, Nairobi's chief magistrate, said after convicting the two men.
Iranian agents are suspected in attacks or thwarted attacks around the globe in recent years, including in Azerbaijan, Thailand and India. Most of the plots had connections to Israeli targets.
Kenyan anti-terror officials said the Iranians are members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, an elite and secretive unit.
Last year, when the two suspects were apprehended, officials said that they may have been planning attacks on Israeli, U.S., British or Saudi Arabian interests in Kenya.
Several resorts on Kenya's coast are Israeli-owned, as is Nairobi's largest and newest shopping mall. Militants bombed an Israeli-owned luxury hotel near the coastal city of Mombasa in 2002, killing 13 people, and tried to shoot down an Israeli airliner. An Al-Qaida operative was linked to those attacks.
On June 12, 2012 the two Iranian suspects arrived in Kenya and traveled to Mombasa, Opagal's affidavit said, adding that they returned to Nairobi on June 16 after receiving the explosive from an accomplice who is still at large. Opagal said that after their arrest on June 19 in Nairobi they led officers to some of the explosives hidden at a Mombasa golf course.