A raid was conducted by the Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in a cell in Addis Ababa, where 15 people were uncovered and arrested. During the raid, the cell was found filled with explosives and weapons in preparation for a major attack in the country’s capital, with some suggesting that the main target would be the UAE Embassy. Furthermore, the NISS announced that another group of plotters was also planning to hit the UAE Embassy in the Sudanese capital, which was later confirmed by a Sudanese official.
Officials from the US and Israel quickly came out and blamed Iran as being behind the plots of the group’s intentions. Officials from both countries consider that the plot was aimed at seeking targets which could avenge the killing of high-profile Iranian officials, such as Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and Qasem Soleimani.
In the statement made by the director of intelligence at the Pentagon’s Africa command Rear Adm. Heidi K. Berg, Iran was accused as being the mastermind of the plot, and that Sweden also contributed to the disruption of the group’s plan by arresting the alleged leader of the group, Ahmed Ismail, on Swedish soil.
In contrast, the spokeswoman of the Iranian Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a statement denying the accusations made by US and Israeli officials, stating that the allegations brought up by this Zionist media are baseless, and that neither Ethiopian nor Emirati officials have mentioned or found anything with regards to Iran‘s possible involvement in this issue.
The arrests in Ethiopia come at a fragile time when Iranian-US relations are at a constant clash, in relation to the Biden administration’s refusal to make the initial move in revitalizing the Iran nuclear deal talks under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Furthermore, the declaration of Sayyid Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s Intelligence Minister, that Iran could seek to obtain nuclear arms should the US not lift its sanctions on the country has recently resulted in increasing tensions further.
Some analysts suggest that Iran was angered by the fact that the UAE has normalized its tensions with Israel under the Abraham Accords, which is the reason why it wanted to hit the UAE. Additionally, they suggested that the UAE Embassy in Ethiopia would have been an ‘unchallenging’ target, considering that Addis Ababa is distracted by the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region.