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.


Afghans honor Japanese aid worker killed in ambush

Updated 07 December 2019

Afghans honor Japanese aid worker killed in ambush

  • On Saturday, in a memorial ceremony after accompanying the body to Kabul airport, Ghani called Nakamura a hero
  • “Nakamura was a great personality who dedicated his life to the goodness and strengthening of Afghanistan’s deprived people,” Ghani said

KABUL: A 73-year-old Japanese aid worker killed in an ambush outside Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan has been described as a “hero” by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Testu Nakamura and five fellow aid workers died when gunmen attacked their car on Wednesday.
Tributes to the popular aid worker continued to pour in on Saturday with candlelight vigils held in different areas of the country. Schools erected posters of the aid worker while the national airline displayed images of him on its aircraft. 
“The level of grief and respect expressed by Afghans show how much people loved him. None of our current leaders would receive so much respect and attention should any of them die like this Japanese aid worker,” Rasoul Dad, a civil servant, told Arab News on Saturday.
Nakamura’s wife, daughter and three of his colleagues, including a childhood friend, arrived in Kabul on Friday as the Afghan government prepared to return his body to Japan.
The Afghan leader met them at the presidential palace and described Nakamura as a “hardworking personality.”
On Saturday, in a memorial ceremony after accompanying the body to Kabul airport, Ghani called Nakamura a hero.
“Nakamura was a great personality who dedicated his life to the goodness and strengthening of Afghanistan’s deprived people,” Ghani said.
The Afghan national flag was placed on Nakamura’s coffin as his family, accompanied by Japanese Ambassador Mitsuji Suzuka, left for Japan.
Nakamura, who spent more than half his life helping Afghan refugees as a doctor in Peshawar and later worked on several projects in the country, has become a national hero for many Afghans.
He was granted honorary citizenship several years ago after deciding to remain in the country despite the attempted abduction and murder of one of his colleagues.