Azerbaijan arrests Afghanistan national for plotting terror attack

Photo: Sputnik

Azerbaijani security forces have arrested a 33-year-old man from Afghanistan on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack against a foreign embassy in Baku.

Azerbaijan’s State Security Service (SSS) said in a statement authorities detained Fawzan Mosa Khan for conspiring with “other individuals” to carry out a “terrorist act accompanied by explosion, fire or other similar events”.

The SSS did not reveal details of what embassy was being targeted but said in their statement: “It was established that this foreign national arrived to the Republic of Azerbaijan from a foreign country with the intention of committing the above mentioned criminal acts and in order to identify the coordinates of a third country embassy and plan a terroristic act conducted a surveillance of the embassy building, attempted to identify and enroll individuals to participate in the terrorist act, obtained firearms and explosives, and conspired with other persons to receive financial support for this activity.”

The SSS said in its statement that it is carrying out a full investigation into the planned attack to “fully determine the circle of persons” involved in the plan.

The Times of Israel meanwhile reported on Tuesday afternoon that the suspect had been planning to attack Israel’s embassy in Baku.

Israel and Azerbaijan, a Shiite-majority country, have close ties – which continue to strengthen. In March, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov opened Baku’s first-ever embassy in Israel and in May, President Isaac Herzog visited Azerbaijan, where he discussed the Iran threat and bilateral ties.

Israel meanwhile is one of Azerbaijan’s leading arms suppliers – having provided 69% of Baku’s major arms imports between 2016 and 2020, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

However, in 2020, during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Israel increased its weapons shipments to Baku, helping Azerbaijan to emerge victorious in the six-week war with Armenia.

The Times of Israel reported “it is an open secret” that two of the key pillars of the relationship between the two countries are Azerbaijan’s location on Iran’s northern border and the fact that Israel buys over 30 percent of its oil from Baku.