Albanian police say they foiled Iranian ‘terrorist’ plot

Members of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) waving Iranian flags at a camp in Manza, Albania. (AFP)
Updated 23 October 2019

Albanian police say they foiled Iranian ‘terrorist’ plot

  • The 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 ceremony was attended by members of the exiled Iranian opposition group the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK)

TIRANA: Albanian police said Wednesday they had thwarted a planned attack by a Tehran-backed “terrorist cell” against opponents of the Tehran regime in the Balkan country last year.

In a statement, police said the group 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 statement said.

The ceremony was attended by members of the exiled Iranian opposition group the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK), according to police.

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.

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

The leader “resides in Turkey” and another “has an Austrian passport,” according to the police statement.

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 who 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.

Paris accused Iranian intelligence of being responsible for plotting a planned attack on a MEK rally north of Paris in June 2018.


Kim Jong Un supervises another North Korean military drill

Updated 40 sec ago

Kim Jong Un supervises another North Korean military drill

  • North Korea has publicized two military drill in three days
  • Kim Jong un has urged combat pilots to prepare against enemies ‘armed to the teeth’ while attending a flight demonstration
SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised a parachuting drill of military sharpshooters and vowed to build an “invincible army,” displaying more defiance even as the United States and South Korea called off their own exercises to create space for nuclear diplomacy.
The report Monday by the Korean Central News Agency came hours after President Donald Trump in a tweet urged Kim to “act quickly, get the deal done” while hinting at another summit, writing, “See you soon!”
At an Asian defense ministers’ conference in Bangkok on Sunday, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States has indefinitely postponed a joint military exercise with South Korea in an “act of goodwill” toward North Korea. Diplomats have been pushing to resume stalled nuclear talks ahead of Kim’s end-of-year deadline for the Trump administration to salvage the diplomacy.
North Korea has publicized two military drill in three days. A report Saturday said Kim urged combat pilots to prepare against enemies “armed to the teeth” while attending a flight demonstration.
KCNA published photos that showed Kim posing with North Korean air force sharpshooters and soldiers who used white parachutes to land on a training field.
Kim while supervising the drill said it’s “necessary to wage a drill without notice under the simulated conditions of real war” for improving his military’s war readiness and build it into an “invincible army,” KNCA said. Kim did not make any specific comment toward Washington or Seoul in the report.
North Korea has been ramping up missile tests and other military demonstrations in recent months in an apparent pressure tactic over the talks.
Negotiations have faltered since a February summit between Kim and Trump in Vietnam, which broke down after the U.S. rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.
Kim issued an end-of-year deadline for the Trump administration to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal while saying that the North would seek a “new path” if the United States persists with sanctions and pressure.
Working-level talks last month in Sweden broke down over what the North Koreans described as the Americans’ “old stance and attitude.”
North Korea last week said the United States has proposed a resumption of stalled nuclear negotiations in December. But North Korean negotiator Kim Myong Gil didn’t clearly say whether the North would accept the supposed U.S. offer and said the country has no interest in talks if they are aimed at buying time without discussing solutions.
He said the North isn’t willing to make a deal over “matters of secondary importance,” such as possible US offers to formally declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which was halted by a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, or establish a liaison office between the countries.