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article imageIsrael PM accuses Hezbollah of Cyprus attack plot

By Layne Weiss     Jul 15, 2012 in World
A Lebanese man who is being detained by Cyprus police for planning attacks on Israelis was planning the attacks for Hezbollah, Israeli officials, most notably, Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu are saying.
The suspect was arrested on July 7 and was described by the Cypriot media as a man of Lebanese descent, but with a Swedish passport, Reuters reports.
The man was detained for suspiciously tracking the movements of Israeli tourists, but so far, has not been charged with any specific crimes.
The man took pictures of various Israeli tourists and had flight information on Israeli airlines flying back and forth from Cyprus, Haaretz reports.
Cyprus police spokesman Andreas Angelides said Cypriot authorities had a suspect in custody on "possible charges pertaining to terrorism laws."
In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this was an attempted terrorist attack by Hezbollah against Israelis visiting Cyprus, Reuters reports. He accused Iran, the group's overall sponsor, of full responsibility.
"After Iran sent its people to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador on US soil at the Saudi Embassy, and carry out attacks in Azerbaijan, Tbilisi, New Delhi and Africa, now it has been exposed that intended to commit a terror attack on Cyprus soil," Netanyahu said in a statement according to The Wall Street Journal.
At first, the suspect's detention was kept private according to Haaretz. He was brought into a local courthouse for a hearing, and his detention was extended by 5 days. On Saturday, he was brought back to the courthouse and his detention was extended for another week.
According to Reuters, Tehran has denied involvement in the attempted attack, but some analysts believe this was all part of a plot to avenge the assassinations of several scientists from its nuclear program.
An investigation into the Lebanse man's plans revealed he had planned to blow up an airplane or tour bus, Haaretz reports. Authorities are trying to locate the explosives said to be held by the suspect.
According to Reuters, Hezbollah had no immediate comment on Israel's allegations.
Hezbollah holds Israel responsible for the death of Imad Mughniyeh in February 2008 in Damascus.
Mughniyeh was a senior Hezbollah official and one of the most wanted terrorists by the US and Israel, Haaretz reports.
Many Hezbollah officials say the car bomb which killed Mugniyeh was the work of Israeli spies, Reuters reports. Some analysts believe the attacks planned on Israelis in Cyprus could have been part of Hezbollah's revenge on Israel for the death of Mughniyeh.
This is not the first time Hezbollah has tried to avenge Mugniyeh's death, Haaretz reports. The organization tried to exact revenge with several bombing attacks against Israeli embassies around the world. Hezbollah also tried to kidnap Israeli businessmen and officials around the world. These attempts have been prevented by the Mossad and other intelligence agencies around the world.
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