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Suspected Iranian Plot to Kill Activist Leads to Extradition of Man to U.S.

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A 39-year-old man named Polad Omarov has been extradited to the United States from the Czech Republic on charges of participating in a plot to assassinate Masih Alinejad, an American human rights activist and outspoken critic of Iran’s repression of women. The extradition was reported by the Czech Justice Ministry and confirmed by American authorities on Wednesday, marking a significant development in the case.

Omarov, a citizen of Georgia, was arrested in the Czech Republic in January 2023. He is accused of being part of an Eastern European criminal organization known as Thieves-in-Law, which has ties to Iran. According to a federal indictment unsealed in New York, Omarov and three co-conspirators were given the assignment to kill Alinejad, a journalist living in Brooklyn.

In a message to one of his co-conspirators in July 2022, Omarov had stated, “This matter is going to be over today, brother”. This conversation took place shortly before another plotter, Khalid Mehdiyev, was found with a loaded AK-47-style assault rifle outside Alinejad’s house. It was alleged that Mehdiyev, at the direction of Mr. Omarov and another man, Rafat Amirov, was preparing to execute the attack on Alinejad.

Alinejad, in a message posted on Twitter on Wednesday morning, thanked U.S. law enforcement agencies “for their vigilance.” She expressed gratitude for having been given a second life and rejoiced in the humiliation of the Iranian regime, stating, “My adopted country has once again saved me from the murderous regime of my birth country Iran.”

Omarov, Amirov, and Mehdiyev are expected to face trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan. While Amirov and Mehdiyev have pleaded not guilty, Omarov’s extradition is seen as a significant step forward in holding Iranian actors accountable for their alleged plot to assassinate a U.S. citizen on American soil.

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The director of the F.B.I., Christopher A. Wray, met Czech officials in Prague on Wednesday and stated, “With today’s extradition of Omarov, we have taken a significant step forward to hold Iranian actors accountable for their brazen plot to assassinate a U.S. citizen on American soil.” The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, also emphasized the unwavering resolve of U.S. authorities to bring to justice individuals attempting to stifle free speech in the U.S., especially at the behest of a malign foreign regime.

This case comes nearly three years after the F.B.I. and prosecutors in the Southern District of New York announced charges against four Iranians in an alleged kidnapping plot to bring Alinejad to Iran for likely execution. The extradition of Omarov underscores the U.S. government’s commitment to addressing Iran’s policies of aggressive suppression and violence against anyone who speaks against them.

As Alinejad stated, “I look forward to testifying at their trial.” Her determination, along with the collective efforts of U.S. law enforcement agencies and international partners, sends a clear message that the United States remains vigilant in upholding its commitment to protecting the rights and safety of its citizens in the face of threats posed by foreign actors.

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Police in Sydney report one person shot and multiple others stabbed at shopping center

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A chaotic scene unfolded at a major mall in Sydney on Saturday afternoon, as one person was shot and several others were stabbed, leading to a declaration of a critical incident by the police and the evacuation of the area. The incident took place at Westfield Bondi Junction, a bustling shopping center in the city.

New South Wales Police reacted swiftly after receiving reports of multiple stabbings shortly before 4 p.m. The situation escalated quickly, with numerous bystanders documenting the chaos on social media. Photos and videos depicting crowds of people fleeing the mall or seeking refuge in stores behind closed shutters flooded various platforms.

As the authorities grappled to assess the extent of the injuries and secure the area, details remained scant. It was unclear whether any suspects had been apprehended or what the current condition of the victims was. Witnesses recalled a harrowing scene of shoppers running for safety upon hearing about the attacks, with security alarms adding to the panic.

The response to the incident included the deployment of emergency services, with aerial footage capturing the sight of injured individuals being transported out of the mall on gurneys. The gravity of the situation was palpable as the public awaited further updates from law enforcement.

As this story continues to unfold, authorities are working diligently to gather information and ensure the safety of the public. Stay tuned for the latest developments.

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