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Mossad says it stopped Israeli killings in Cyprus

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Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, said it actively prevented the contract killing of Israeli businessmen living in Cyprus.

The cases involved a ‘would-be’ Azeri hitman, who allegedly arrived in Cyprus to assassinate a wealthy Israeli, who was arrested in September last year while crossing to the Turkish-occupied north carrying a gun.

On a rare occasion, Mossad’s chief David Barnea referred to the agency’s successes outside the country, including the detention of the Azeri and plans to shoot businesspeople in Cyprus.

Barnea told a conference on terrorism: “We have prevented dozens of terrorist attacks abroad.

“An assassination attempt against Israeli businessmen was avoided in Cyprus.

“In Turkey, an attack against a local businessman and a former Israeli diplomat who was in the country, as well as in Colombia”.

On the terrorist attacks prepared on Turkish soil, Barnea emphasised that “together with the Turks, we stopped the terrorists who were literally ready to pull the trigger”.

The foiled attempt to murder Israelis in Cyprus is set for a continuation before the Nicosia Criminal Court on 21 September.

The Azeri who allegedly masterminded the plot to murder five Israeli businessmen were named 39-year-old Orhan Asadov.

Another five people were arrested in the case, including four Pakistani food delivery men.

Charges against two of them were dropped after it was decided they had no participation in the plan.

According to Phileleftheros daily, a 21-year-old Cypriot student with Lebanese received a 12-month suspended sentence for three years on 1 March in connection with the same case.

The Azeri was arrested last year while crossing from the Turkish-occupied north through a Nicosia checkpoint, where police officers intercepted him.

A gun with a silencer and some bullets were found in his possession.

The incident had sparked a diplomatic incident with Israel and Tehran, as it alleged the Azeri was recruited by its arch-foe Iran to attack prominent Israelis on the island.

Israel claimed there was a wider plot to carry out terrorist attacks against several prominent Israelis in Cyprus.

However, Iran has refuted any involvement in the case.