Two Azeris arrested over alleged anti-Shiite plot

Two Azeris arrested over alleged anti-Shiite plot

Azerbaijan has arrested two men for allegedly plotting attacks on Shias in the mainly Shiite Muslim, but strictly secular, ex-Soviet state, the country's security agency said Saturday.

"Nariman Mirzayev and Mirzehmet Rustamov are suspected of planning terrorist attacks and acquiring a large amount of weapons, ammunition and explosives," the Ministry of National Security said in a statement.

In October a Facebook user under the pseudonym Anakin Skywalker -- the original name of the villain Darth Vader in the Star Wars films -- allegedly posted a picture of the two Azerbaijani nationals brandishing weapons and calling for attacks on Shiite sites and the murder of a prominent cleric in Baku, Haji Shahin Hasanli, the statement said.

Nestled between Iran and Russia's restive north Caucasus region, oil-rich Azerbaijan has long been concerned about the spread of radical Islam -- especially among the unemployed youth who feel left behind despite the country's recent oil boom.


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