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Israeli Secret Service Says It Captured Plot Leader in Iran, Foiling Attack


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a graduation ceremony for new pilots in Hatzerim Airbase near Beersheba, Israel, June 29, 2023. He said at the base that Israel was working to thwart attempts by Iran and its proxies to attack Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a graduation ceremony for new pilots in Hatzerim Airbase near Beersheba, Israel, June 29, 2023. He said at the base that Israel was working to thwart attempts by Iran and its proxies to attack Israel.

JERUSALEM - Israel said Thursday that its Mossad intelligence service had carried out an operation in Iran to capture the suspected leader of an Iranian plot to attack Israeli businesspeople in Cyprus and thwart the attack.

"In a unique operation on Iranian soil, the Mossad captured the head of the cell, who, during an investigation, gave a detailed confession that led to the exposure and dismantlement of the terrorist cell behind the Cyprus attack," Mossad said in a statement.

Iranian officials were not immediately available for comment.

Mossad did not say when the capture took place, where the suspect was now nor when the Cyprus attack would have happened. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said an attack had been foiled but did not give details. Cyprus at that time declined to comment.

The Israeli agency identified the suspect as Yousef Shahabazi Abbasalilu and said he "received detailed instructions and weapons from senior [officials] in Iran's Revolutionary Guard" to carry out such an attack.

Netanyahu's office, which oversees the Mossad, released a video appearing to show Abbasalilu recalling conversations he had with members of the Revolutionary Guard.

Speaking at the Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel on Thursday, Netanyahu said Israel was "working without respite" to thwart attempts by Iran and its proxies to attack Israel, including "in neighboring countries that are not in conflict with us."

Iran and Israel are longtime foes. Israel accuses Iran of backing militant attacks against it, while Iran says Israel has carried out a number of killings of Iranian officials.

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    Reuters

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