Iran tried to kill Israeli businessman in Cyprus – Bennett spokesman

Iran is behind the attack on Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi last week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s spokesman Matan Sidi said on Monday.

“Contrary to what has been published [Sunday] night about the incident in Cyprus, I ask for clarification on behalf of security officials that this was a terrorist attack by Iran against Israeli businessmen living in Cyprus ”, did he declare.

“It was not a criminal incident, and businessman Teddy Sagi was not the target of the attack,” Sidi said.

The attempted murder was a revenge operation, following the Mossad’s assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last year, KAN News reported.

The Iranian embassy in Nicosia said the allegations were baseless.

Sidi’s comments came after conflicting reports on whether the assassination attempt was a terrorist attack or the result of a business dispute between Sagi and Russian businessmen.

Sagi said Iran was responsible for the attack.

Iranian protester holds the photo of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as she attends an anti-US protest, marking the 40th anniversary of the takeover of the US embassy near the former embassy in Tehran, Iran, November 4, 2019 (credit: NAZANIN TABATABAEE / WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

The attempted murder was “another act of aggression by Iran against Israeli targets,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday.

“Iran continues to be a global and regional threat and a challenge for Israel, and we will continue to act to defend our citizens and the security of the State of Israel everywhere and against any threat,” he said. he said at a Blue and White faction meeting. .

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said: “Israeli businessmen will continue to travel the world. They must be careful and listen to instructions, but Israel can and knows how to protect its citizens. “

Cypriot police arrested a 38-year-old Azeri-Russian man on September 27 on charges of conspiring to assassinate several Israeli businessmen living in Nicosia.

“A person was arrested, in possession of whom a pistol and cartridges were found,” Cypriot police chief Stelios Papatheodorou said on Monday. “This is a sensitive matter, which is why a request for pre-trial detention was made behind closed doors.”

“All possibilities” were being explored, he said.

The hitman had been in Cyprus for around 20 days before his arrest, first crossing Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus by car, then making several round trips across a crosswalk with an electric scooter, police reported . He successively rented two cars, and a silencer was found in one of them at the time of his arrest.

Sagi was informed by anonymous Israeli authorities that he had been targeted by an assassin, Israeli media reported on Sunday evening. These authorities helped Sagi to flee Cyprus and avoid any danger.

It’s still unclear who warned Sagi, but the Mossad is likely the anonymous Israeli authority operating or giving out information relating to a foreign country like Cyprus.

Sagi is the founding billionaire of gaming software company Playtech and fraud prevention company SafeCharge and the owner of Camden Market in London.

Yonah Jeremy Bob, Reuters and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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