(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that an Iranian plot to attack sites popular with Jews and Israelis in Cyprus had been foiled.
Reports in Israeli and Cypriot media claimed that the attacks were aimed at venues frequented by Israeli tourists and a building associated with a Hasidic movement. The Times of Israel, citing Israel’s Channel 12, reported that an Israeli businessman was specifically targeted as well.
“Israel welcomes the foiling of the Iranian terrorist attack in the territory of Cyprus against Israeli targets,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. “Israel operates everywhere in a wide variety of methods in order to protect Jews and Israelis and will continue to act to sever Iranian terrorism wherever it raises its head, including on Iranian soil.”
Cyprus is an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea located roughly 300 miles from Israel. It is a popular destination for Israelis, including couples who wish to wed outside the bounds of Israel’s Orthodox Chief Rabbinate, which holds a monopoly over legal Jewish marriage in the country.
A spokesperson for the government of Cyprus declined to comment on the reported attacks because they were a matter of national security, according to Reuters. Channel 12 reported that Cyprus worked with Greece and Israel to thwart the attacks.
Iran funds terrorist activity around the world and has long called for violence against Israel. In 2021, Israel publicly accused Iran of planning an attack in Cyprus. In March, Israel’s National Security Council released a report about threats to Israelis abroad that said multiple Iranian-backed terror plots had been foiled over the past two years in Cyprus, Turkey and Georgia.
That same month, Greek officers arrested two men from an Iranian network suspected of carrying out similar attacks, including at a Jewish center in Athens. Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency was involved in the arrests.