Azerbaijan's Leaders Fear Spread of Radical Islam, Especially in Military

November 7, 2007

Author: Fariz Ismailzade

Source: Eurasia Daily

On October 27 Azerbaijani law-enforcement agencies announced they had foiled a terrorist plot targeting the U.S. and British embassies, as well as the Baku offices of several major oil companies.

The plot was discovered following a theft in a Defense Ministry military unit. Lieutenant Kamran Asadov allegedly stole four guns, 20 hand grenades, and a large amount of ammunition and hid this small arsenal in Ismayilli region. Then he returned to Baku where, together with members of the Wahhabi sect of Islam, plotted terrorist attacks. The Ministry of National Security surrounded the house where the terrorist group was hiding on the outskirts of the capital city and managed to neutralize the terrorist cell, killing one person and arresting two (Press release, Ministry of National Security, October 27).

As a result of the news, both the U.S. and British embassies, as well as the Landmark business center, which houses the Norwegian oil company Statoil and U.S. embassy support staff, were shut down for several days.

Although the terror attempt was successfully prevented, the situation in Baku remains tense. The opposition Musavat newspaper described it as an “undeclared state of emergency.” Roads are full of traffic police and security forces check points. Intense searches are ongoing for other suspected members of the terrorist group as well as for criminal groups that have committed a number of high-level robberies in the past two weeks.