Cyprus police are trying to connect the dots in the country’s latest contract killing investigation, with a detained suspect thought to have travelled to the island to take out Israeli businessmen who got wind of the plot and fled ahead of time.
During a marathon remand hearing on Tuesday that lasted over two hours, a Nicosia judge heard evidence linking a 38-year-old male suspect to an alleged assassination plot where a number of Israeli businessmen living and working in the capital were the main targets.
Greek Cypriot media reported that the detained suspect, described as a Russian national of Azeri descent, was caught on camera at least some days prior to his arrest in Engomi, a borough in western Nicosia, which was also the same location where he was apprehended.
No video footage was made public, with police keeping the lid on the case and citing national security concerns.
Law enforcement agents on Monday handcuffed the suspect as he walked towards a parked rental vehicle in Engomi. Conflicting reports over his arrest included a reference to a handgun with silencer being found in his possession, while other statements pointed to the firearm being found inside the parked vehicle along with other items including rental documents of other vehicles.
Local media said the car in question was rented in Paralimni while the Engomi location was said to be close to the place where the Israeli businessmen were known to live or work
Local media said the car in question was rented in Paralimni while the Engomi location was said to be close to the place where the Israeli businessmen were known to live or work.
Media sources said the Israelis thought to be targets got wind of the plot through intelligence and at least some of them managed to leave the country.
According to local media, the suspect did not appear to have had any lodging accommodations in the south but may have stayed somewhere in the north, as he was seen crossing the Ledras checkpoint downtown.
Police investigators are on the lookout for other suspects or accomplices connected to the case.
During the remand hearing, it was reported that the session behind closed doors was interrupted after the suspect asked for a lawyer. But according to additional media, the Russian citizen then waived his rights to an attorney and the judge proceeded in ordering him to remain in custody for eight days.
Some local media said the suspect came to Cyprus between two and three weeks ago. He would allegedly drive the rental car and park at the Engomi location, where he would then get on an electric scooter to go to Ledras.