Thursday, 21 February 2013

Iran Analysis: Taking Apart the "Iranian Terror Cell in Nigeria" Story

Last night, the story emerged --- via the Israeli daily Haaretz --- that "Nigerian security forces uncovered an Iranian terror cell that was allegedly planning to launch attacks against Israeli and American targets in the city of Lagos".

A spokeswoman for the Nigerian police said three men had been detained, while one had escaped, after six months of surveillance. They were preparing for strikes on the offices of the US Agency for International Development, the offices of the Israeli container shipping company ZIM, and the Chabad house, a Jewish organisation, in the city of Lagos.

The authorities claimed that one of the men, Abdullahi Berende, had been trained in Iran "in assembling explosive devices" and had received $30,000 from unnamed "Iranian handlers" to carry out the attacks.

An EA correspondent, specialising in security matters, considers the report:

The reporting is weird, slightly, because Haaretz's correspondent Barak Ravid, who is based in Israel, does not say where he got his information. "Nigerian authorities" is vague.

The level of detail in the report suggests to me that this is from an indictment, not from a police report.

I don't think the plot is implausible, but this amount of information is way beyond what I would expect from a police report on someone who had just been arrested and not formally charged. This includes  specific information from covert surveillance, which would be submitted as evidence after someone was formally charged, not revealed in a police briefing after an interrogation.

Consider this declaration, "Berende stated that the Iranians wanted to conduct an attack on Israeli targets in Lagos because they thought that the city was home to an Israeli intelligence base being used to collect information on Iran." I have never heard of anyone in a public briefing giving the details of an interrogation ---  this sounds like it should be testimony given in court.

So it seems this element of the story is a PR exercise by the Nigerians. 

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

Posted via email from lissping