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Suspect in Cyprus attack plan says he's Hezbollah

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February 20, 2013 04:29 PM EST | AP


NICOSIA, Cyprus — A man on trial for allegedly planning attacks on Israeli tourists in Cyprus has admitted being a member of the militant group Hezbollah and staking out locations that such visitors frequent, a lawyer says.

Lawyer Antonis Georgiades also said Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, who is Swedish and Lebanese, told a Cyprus court Wednesday that he came to this country on business with no plan to harm anyone.

But Yaacoub admitted an unidentified man in Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based, gave him the "mission" of recording flight arrivals and bus routes of Israeli tourists and checking out a hospital parking lot.

Cyprus police arrested Yaacoub in July, several days before a suicide bomber killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver in Bulgaria. Officials there suspect Hezbollah operatives were involved.