Mughniyeh. Sought to avenge his death Photo: Reuters
Cell sent by Hezbollah to attack Israeli embassy
Azerbaijan media publish segments from hearing of 2 Lebanese, 4 locals accused of planning terror attack on Israeli embassy in capital city, Baku. According to indictment, suspects admit to being sent by Hezbollah, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and al-Qaeda
A hearing was held Wednesday in Azerbaijan's serious crimes court in the capital city, Baku, for two Lebanese and four Azerbaijanis accused of plotting to carry out a terror attack at the Israeli embassy in Baku, and for ties with al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
According to local media reports, the suspects asked that their trial be conducted with open doors.
Following a series of allusions and muddled reports due to censor limitations, most of the details of the affair were revealed a month and a half ago in the Los Angeles Times, where it was claimed that Hezbollah was mere weeks away from carrying out a massive attack at the embassy as revenge for the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, but that the Azerbaijani security apparatus thwarted the plot.
Among other things, it was reported that the police apprehended a bomb-strapped car carrying two Lebanese on their way to Iran. The car was reportedly packed to the brim with explosives, field glasses, cameras, revolvers fitted with silencers, and pictures of the embassy compound.
According to reports Wednesday in Azerbaijan, one of the Lebanese defendants, Najmadeen Ali Hussein, said in his court testimony that he fought against the IDF in the past as a Hezbollah member and arrived in Iran in 2007 at the instruction of his Hezbollah commanders. From there he was reportedly sent to Azerbaijan to collect intelligence information on the Israeli embassy in Baku.
The defendants said they had no intention of giving testimony behind closed doors and asked for an open trial.
According to the indictment, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah leaders sent the Lebanese citizens to Azerbaijan plan the attack. Upon arrival in the country, the two recruited the four Azerbaijani citizens. In addition, the group planned to bomb a large relay station with the objective of cutting off Azerbaijan from other countries.
The six are also accused of planning to attack the Israeli embassy from a number of directions simultaneously. They reported rented an apartment near the embassy and the Jewish community center.
The two Lebanese are being tried on spying charges, while the four Azerbaijani citizens are being tried for treachery. The hearing will continue on Thursday.