According to the New York Times, an attempt to target the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was a part of a larger plan to target Israeli, American and Emirati embassies in Africa.
Who was blamed for the alleged plot?
The answer is always the same: Iran.
The official Ethiopian statement on the arrest of 15 people did not mention who was behind the plot or the motive, but a 16th arrest in Sweden brought in Ahmed Ismail, believed to be the ringleader of the plot, the Times reported.
“The group took the mission from a foreign terrorist group and was preparing to inflict significant damage on properties and human lives,” Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA) reported.
A second group was planning to attack the UAE’s mission in Sudan, EPA said.
Allegedly, the plot was arranged by Iran, with Iranian intelligence activating a sleeper cell in Addis Ababa last fall with orders to gather intelligence on the three embassies, US and Israeli officials said.
Rear Adm. Heidi K. Berg, director of intelligence at the Pentagon’s Africa command, told the New York Times that Iran was behind the plot.
“Ethiopia and Sweden collaborated on the disruption to the plot,” she said.
An unnamed senior US defense official said the arrests were linked to an Iranian plot to kill the US ambassador to South Africa reported in September.
The plot was reportedly meant to serve as revenge for the US assassination of former Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force commander Major General Qasem Soleimani and the alleged Israeli assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
A spokeswoman for the Iranian Embassy in Addis Ababa denied the report.
“These are baseless allegations only provoked by the Zionist regime’s malicious media,” she said. “Neither Ethiopia nor the Emirates said anything about Iranian interference in these issues.”
A spokesman for the Ethiopian police declined to say why Ethiopia did not blame Iran, but several diplomats told the Times that Ethiopia tends to avoid getting publicly involved in delicate issues involving major powers.
This appears to be a chain of actions used to exert alternative pressure on Iran. Earlier, in early February 2021, an Iranian diplomat was sentenced to twenty years in prison, who was accused of attempted terrorist attack in France. However, the people against whom the attack was allegedly planned belonged to an organization recognized in Iran as terrorist. Their open activities in Western countries are perceived by Tehran as pandering to terrorists.
Back in 2018, members of this group shot Iranian soldiers during the annual military parade in the city of Ahvaz in Khuzestan province.
Four gunmen opened fire on a crowd of civilians who had come to watch the parade. Shortly after the start of the attack, two militants were killed, one was wounded and, along with another, was detained. According to the latest data, 11 people became victims of the terrorist attack, 32 people were injured (including women and children).
The Iranian authorities immediately accused the United States of preparing a terrorist attack and helping militants. The group named “Ahvaziya”, which is considered to be connected with Saudi Arabia, was named as the direct executor.
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