Monday, January 23, 2012

Azeris thwart terrorist attack on two rabbis

It's been hailed as one of the few Jewish communities in a Muslim state to be thriving - and its brand new synagogue is proof enough - but is the honeymoon for the Jews of Azerbaijan over? Haaretz reports:

Three men were detained last week after planning to attack two Israelis employed by a Jewish school in Baku, the Azerbaijan Ministry of National Security has revealed. Meanwhile, an Azeri commentator considered close to the republic's president has launched a scathing indictment of Iran.

The Azeri ministry said it had arrested a cell that planned to "kill public activists," before it became apparent that the intended victims were two Israeli Chabad emissaries, a rabbi and a teacher employed by the "Chabad Or Avner" Jewish school in Baku. The ministry said that the three men, named as Rasim Aliyev, Ali Huseynov and Balaqardash Dadashov, received smuggled arms and equipment from Iranian agents. The action was apparently planned as retaliation to the gunning down of Iranian nuclear scientists.

Baku, Azerbaijan - AP - 18.1.12

Waterfront in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Photo by: AP

"The Azeri security forces acted covertly without alerting us," said Rabbi Shneor Segal, one of the two targets. "It was published that they originally planned to attack 'people who look Jewish and hold foreign passports,' near the school, but when the school guards began suspecting them, they started monitoring the area where I live," he told Haaretz.

Segal added that the second target was Rabbi Mati Lewis.

Irani-Azeri relations, which were never rosy, recently deteriorated even further after Azeri Communication Minister Ali Abbasov accused Iran of carrying out a cyber attack against several offices in the country accused of "cooperation with Israel."

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