Cyprus attack plan suspect pleads not guilty

By the Associated Press | October 5, 2012 | 6:34 AM EDT

LIMASSOL, Cyprus (AP) — A Swedish-Lebanese man has pleaded not guilty to charges he was planning an attack against Israeli citizens on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

The eight charges read out in a Limassol court on Friday against 24-year-old Hossam Taleb Yaacoub include conspiracy and consent to commit a criminal offense and participation in a criminal organization by "carrying out missions in any part of the world, including the Cyprus Republic, against Israeli citizens."

Yaacoub originally faced 17 "terrorism and terrorism-related" charges according to police, but prosecutors last month dropped terrorism from the new charges.

Israel's prime minister has said that Yaacoub was a Hezbollah operative who used the same "modus operandi" as a suicide bomber who killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver in Burgas, Bulgaria, in July.