BAKU, March 29 (Reuters) – Azerbaijan’s State Security Service said on Wednesday that it was investigating “a terror attack” after a lawmaker with strong anti-Iranian views was wounded in a gun attack at his home.
Fazil Mustafa, a member of the Azeri parliament, had been hospitalised after receiving wounds to his shoulder and thigh after being shot with a Kalashnikov assault rifle on Tuesday night, the security agency said in a statement.
His life was not at risk, it said, and a criminal investigation had been opened to identify the perpetrator.
Azeri news site haqqin.az quoted Mustafa, 57, as saying from hospital that he had been hit by two bullets while driving into his garage.
Mustafa was known in parliament as an outspoken critic of Iran, Azerbaijan’s southern neighbour, with which Baku has often had strained relations. The State Security Service noted Mustafa’s anti-Iran stance in its statement on the incident.
Relations between Azerbaijan and Iran, which has a large population of ethnic Azeris in its northwest, have been strained in recent months after Baku announced plans to open formal diplomatic ties with Israel.
In January, Azerbaijan closed its embassy in Tehran after what it called a “terrorist attack” that killed the embassy’s head of security.
(Reporting by Nailia BagirovaWriting by Felix LightEditing by Andrew Osborn)