Cyprus rejects Israel's claims Iran was behind a foiled plot to assassinate Israeli businesspeople on the island nation, local media reported Wednesday.
Authorities were also convinced that the alleged hitman's target was not Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, but other partners at his online gambling company, according to Greek-language news site Philenews.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's media adviser Matan Sidi issued a statement on Monday citing security officials in which he claimed the suspected target was not Sagi but other Israeli businessmen who operate out of the same office building in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia.
"This was a terrorist plot orchestrated by Iran against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus," Sidi said.
The Iranian Embassy in Nicosia rejected the claims, describing them as "baseless."
"This regime is always making such a baseless allegation against the Islamic Republic of Iran," Tehran's mission said in an emailed response to a comment sought by Reuters.
The alleged hired killer, a 38-year-old Azeri national, arrived in Cyprus on a flight from Russia using a Russian passport and was under close surveillance by authorities until his arrest last week.
The suspect was taken to a district court in Nicosia on Wednesday, where the order remanding him in custody was extended until Monday.
"Investigations are proceeding at a rapid pace," police spokesman Christos Andreou told state TV. He declined to comment on the Israeli claims, citing the ongoing investigation.
Wednesday's court proceedings were held through video for security reasons. A convoy of vehicles, including unmarked SUVs accompanied by police on motorcycles, arrived at the colonial complex of buildings mid-morning Wednesday.
Cyprus's authoritative Phileleftheros daily said the suspect, thought to have arrived in Cyprus 20 days prior to his arrest, was not cooperating with police.
On Tuesday, the suspect indicated to police he had rented two cars from the resort town of Ayia Napa in the southeast of the island. Police found a pistol and a silencer in one of the vehicles in the search that led to his arrest.
Police have not traced where the suspect was staying prior to his arrest, the newspaper said. Authorities believe he may have been staying in the Turkish-held north of the ethnically split island, it said.