Israeli intelligence agency Mossad confirmed Sunday evening Cypriot media reports that claimed that an Iranian plot to assassinate Israeli nationals in the island nation's city of Limassol has been thwarted.
"Israel applauds the thwarting of the Iranian terrorist attack on Cypriot soil against Israeli targets," stated the Prime Minister’s Office, to which the intelligence agency answers. "The State of Israel employs a wide range of methods everywhere to protect Jews and Israelis and will continue to act to undermine Iranian terrorism wherever it rears its head, including on Iranian soil, the primary sponsor of terrorism in the world."
The plot was foiled thanks to close cooperation between the intelligence services of Cyprus and Mossad. According to Cypriot media reports, local intelligence services were informed about the planned attack through "foreign counterparts," including the United States.
A Cypriot official stated that Cyprus sends a clear message of zero tolerance for such terrorist acts and emphasizes that the Greek part of the island must not be perceived as a "weak link" to be exploited.
According to the official, the planning of the attack was made possible due to gaps in the border created by the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island.
"The country will not be involved in regional conflicts," said the official, noting that despite expressing dissatisfaction with Iran’s actions, Nicosia intends to keep all channels of communication and understanding open with Tehran.
The Cypriot intelligence services and Mossad closely monitored for months the movements of the terrorist cell, comprised of intelligence operatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, which arrived by flight from Russia to the Turkish side of the island.
From there, they dispatched operatives to Greek Cyprus, where they reportedly surveilled Israeli targets in Limassol, including the Chabad House, Israeli businessmen and tourists.
The island nation’s intelligence services kept close tabs on the main suspect, who eventually managed to flee the country and an international arrest warrant was issued against him. Local security services located a secret hideout belonging to the cell and found equipment that could have been used in the execution of the attack.
The cell was linked to a prior group of Pakistani operatives active in Greece, who had plotted an attack on a Chabad House in Athens. The Iranian modus operandi mirrored this pattern: Tehran employs foreign mercenaries to ensure plausible deniability in case of capture, enabling them to disavow any involvement in the event.
This is the second incident related to the ongoing Revolutionary Guards' activities in Cyprus within two years. In a previous case, a Russian passport holder, who was also an Iranian Revolutionary Guards operative, was arrested in the country. He had planned a terrorist attack on Israeli targets, including the assassination of Israeli businessmen.