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Wed, 20 Nov 2019 17:13 GMT

Albanian Police Foil Iranian 'Terrorist' Plot

Counterterrorism & Security

7Dnews London

Wed, 23 Oct 2019 22:42 GMT

Albanian police said on Wednesday October 23rd they had foiled a planned attack in Albania by a Tehran-backed "terrorist cell" against exiled members of an Iranian group seeking to overthrow the government in Tehran, AFP reported.

Police said the cell belonged to the elite Quds force, which runs foreign operations for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

This cell "had planned, among other things, a terrorist act foiled in March 2018" targeting a religious celebration of the Bektashi, a Sufi group, in Tirana, the police statement said.

The ceremony was attended by members of an exiled Iranian opposition group, the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK).

Police alleged that two Iranian top security officials led the cell from Tehran, adding that the network was allegedly linked with organised crime groups in Turkey and used a former MEK member to collect information in Albania.

On Wednesday, police published photos of three Iranians and one Turkish national allegedly involved in the "terrorist cell".

Police declined to confirm whether international arrest warrants had been issued. Authorities also did not say whether the incident had any connection to Tirana's decision last year to expel two Iranian diplomats whom the US accused of plotting "terrorist attacks" in the Balkan country.

In January, the European Union sanctioned Iran's intelligence services after accusing Tehran of being involved in plots to assassinate regime opponents in the Netherlands, Denmark and France.

In 2013, Albania agreed to take in some 3,000 members of the MEK at the request of Washington and the United Nations. They currently live in a compound in the northwest of the country.

Middle East Europe