Nigeria arrests 3 suspected of spying for Iran, planning attacks


Female student stands in a burnt classroom at Maiduguri Experimental School, a private nursery, primary and secondary school burnt by the Islamist group Boko Haram to keep children away from school in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria on May 12, 2012.



Nigerian authorities said on Wednesday that they uncovered an Iranian terror cell that was allegedly planning to attack US and Israeli sites in Lagos.

Three people were arrested, including the alleged leader Abdullahi Berende, a Shiite Muslim Nigerian citizen who was reportedly trained in assembling explosive devices, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Agence France Presse said 50-year-old Berende and his two accomplices were paraded by the Nigerian secret police, who alleged that they were spying on prominent individuals in addition to planning attacks.

State security service spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said Berende was arrested last December "for his active involvement in espionage and terrorist activities."

The cell was planning to attack the US Agency for International Development, the ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. and the Jewish Cultural Center, according to Bloomberg.

Ogar said a fourth person is at large.

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