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Iran captures Israel-backed terror team

Iranian security forces have arrested an Israeli-backed "terrorist team" that was planning attacks inside Iran, the intelligence ministry announced Tuesday, four days before crucial nuclear talks with world powers.

world Updated: Apr 12, 2012 00:52 IST

Iranian security forces have arrested an Israeli-backed "terrorist team" that was planning attacks inside Iran, the intelligence ministry announced Tuesday, four days before crucial nuclear talks with world powers.

The announcement, reported by the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), said that "terrorists, backed by the Zionists," were arrested after months of intelligence operations in central and border provinces and that the "Zionist regional headquarters" was discovered in another country in the region. The ministry did not specify when or where the arrests were made or say how many alleged terrorists were rounded up. In Iran's ideological vocabulary, Israel is called the "Zionist state."

Although the report did not name the regional country, Iranian media in recent months have quoted several officials as saying that neighbouring Azerbaijan has sheltered operatives plotting attacks in Iran.

The intelligence ministry said security forces identified and arrested all of the team's members before they implemented their plan.

Like previous Iranian reports on arrests of spies and terrorists, Tuesday's assertion could not be independently verified. It comes as Iran and world powers prepare to meet Saturday in Istanbul for their first nuclear negotiations in more than 13 months.

Describing firefights during some of the arrests, IRNA quoted an unidentified intelligence ministry official as saying that "heavy bombs, machine guns, handguns, silencers, military and telecommunications equipment and other terrorist tools" were discovered during several raids. No further details were provided.

Israel's government declined to comment on the Iranian announcement, Israeli news media reported.


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