Azerbaijani MP Fazil Mustafa has been shot several times outside his home near Baku by an unknown man, surviving the attack.
According to the authorities, a man fired seven shots from a Kalashnikov assault rifle at Mustafa on Tuesday evening outside his home in Zabrat, just northeast of Baku. The MP was hit twice — in the shoulder and leg.
Mustafa remains in hospital where doctors say his condition is stable.
No suspect has yet been named in the attack. In the early hours of Wednesday, the State Security Service called the attack an act of terror.
‘Complex urgent operational-investigative measures are being undertaken in order to identify the person who committed the terrorist act and other persons related to the crime and to bring them to criminal responsibility’, they said in a statement.
They said they had opened an investigation on terrorism and weapons charges; the perpetrator could face up to life in prison.
On Wednesday, Mustafa told the Haqqin news portal that the incident happened as he returned home.
‘I was preparing to enter the garage with my car, and suddenly the windshield broke. I didn’t understand what had happened. I felt pain in my shoulder. After that, I realised that there was a shooting, I heard the sounds of shooting.’
Mustafa said he jumped out of the car and tried to enter the yard through the gate.
‘I went inside and told them to close the gate quickly. The people of the house went out to the yard at the sound of gunfire. We closed the gate and called the ambulance and the police’, Mustafa said.
Accusations against Iran, Russia, and Armenia
The authorities have not officially stated what the motive behind the attack might be. However, there has been speculation among some officials that the attack could have been politically motivated.
Commenting on the nature of the assassination against MP Fazil Mustafa, MP Vahid Ahmadov made a thinly-veiled accusation against Iran. Mustafa has been outspoken in his criticism of Iran.
‘Fazil Mustafa is a well-known social and political figure. He touches on certain religious issues with his speeches. And some countries don’t like it’, Ahmadov said.
He also noted the timing of the attack, soon after Azerbaijan opened an embassy in Israel and ‘on the professional holiday of the most trusted State Security Service’.
‘Think about when it happened?! Azerbaijan opens an embassy in Israel, our foreign minister and MPs also participated in the opening of the embassy’, he said.
[Read on OC Media: ‘Irrationality is subjective’: fears rise of conflict between Iran and Azerbaijan]
MP Hikmet Babaoglu, a member of parliament’s Defence, Security, and Anti-corruption Committee, said the assassination attempt was ‘a planned and purposeful act of terror’.
Babaoglu hinted instead that the attack was committed by Russia or Armenia.
‘Under what circumstances was the act of terror committed? How it was organised? Which weapon was used, and by whom it was carried out? Of course, we know the homeland of the Kalashnikov’, he said.
Kalashnikovs are Russian-made rifles.
‘We also know the style of the terrorists. The repetition of the terror committed against our diplomats a while ago in the capital of Azerbaijan raises doubts in people’s minds’, he said, an apparent reference to attacks on Azerbaijani diplomats in the 1990s.
‘The target is not only Fazil Mustafa. The target is also the state and society represented by Fazil Mustafa.’