After Cypriot authorities reportedly thwarted an Iranian attack on Israelis in the country, Israel responded with praise Sunday.

A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Sunday read, “Israel commends the thwarting of the Iranian terrorist attack in Cyprus against Israeli targets.”

Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the targets of the planned attack included hotels and other venues frequented by Israelis, an unnamed Israeli businessman and a Jewish religious center known as a Chabad house.

The Cypriot media outlet Phile News reported that US, Israeli and Cypriot intelligence agencies foiled the plot and that the plan was linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Channel 12 also reported that Greek intelligence recently arrested seven Pakistani citizens allegedly recruited by Iran to carry out attacks in Greece. It is unclear if the two events were related.

A police source declined to comment on the matter to CyprusMail on Monday, saying, “It was a matter of national security.”

Iran did not comment on the allegations. 

Background: Israel and Cyprus have grown closer in recent years, particularly regarding energy. For several years, Israel has been promoting an undersea pipeline called the EastMed to transport gas from Israel to Cyprus. Earlier this month, Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz met European officials to discuss the plan.

Last week, Cypriot Energy Minister George Papanastasio told Reuters that the two countries will discuss the pipeline during talks next month.

Israel-Cyprus relations are strengthening in other ways. Haaretz reported last week that Israel and Cyprus have held talks on the latter buying Israel’s Merkava tanks, for instance.

Cyprus and Greece are both common destinations for Israeli tourists.

Know more: This is not the first alleged Iranian plot to attack Israelis in Cyprus and Greece. In 2021, Israel said Iran orchestrated an attack on Israeli businesspeople in the country. Iran denied the accusation.

In March, Greek police arrested two Pakistani citizens for allegedly plotting to attack Israeli and Jewish targets in Greece. Israel said it helped foil the plot. Days later, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met his Greek and Cypriot counterparts to discuss Iran. Cohen urged the diplomats to push the European Union to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. 

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