News / World

2 Iranians charged in Kenyan court with terrorism

NAIROBI, Kenya — Two Iranian men were charged Thursday in a Kenyan court with collecting information to facilitate a terrorist act after they were allegedly found with video footage of the Israeli embassy.

Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahim and Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee were arrested Tuesday in an Iranian diplomatic car on Bishops Road in Nairobi, after they had come from visiting Kamiti Prison where they saw two other Iranians who have been jailed for 15 years on terrorism charges, said prosecutor Duncan Ondimu.

The suspects were taking the pictures using a mobile phone, Ondimu said. A Kenyan driver, Moses Keyah Mmboga, who was chauffeuring the vehicle belonging to the Iranian embassy, has been charged with the suspects and also faces a separate charge of "abetting terrorism.

Iranian agents are suspected in attacks or thwarted attacks around the globe in recent years, including in Azerbaijan, Thailand and India. Most of the plots had Israeli targets.

In June 2013 a Kenyan court convicted two Iranian nationals of being Quds agents plotting attacks against Western targets in Kenya and they were sentenced to life in prison. That sentence was reduced on appeal in February to 15 years imprisonment.

Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi were arrested in June 2012 and led officials to a 15-kilogram (33-pound) stash of the explosive RDX. At least 85 kilograms (187 pounds) of the explosives that authorities say was shipped into Kenya has not yet been found.

Kenyan anti-terror officials said the two Iranians are members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, an elite and secretive unit.

In November 2015, two Kenyans admitted assisting Iranian state intelligence to plot attacks on western targets in Kenya, according to the country's police chief. Abubakar Sadiq Louw, 69, and Yassin Sambai Juma, 25, confessed to being spies for the Quds Force, according to Joseph Boinnet.

He said the two had been given money by their handlers to case their targets for future terror attacks and to recruit others, including children. He declined to say which western targets were being surveyed.