Europe

Azerbaijan 'foiled plot to attack Eurovision'

Crystal Hall, Baku
Image caption Baku's Crystal Hall was purpose-built to showcase the Eurovision contest

Azerbaijan says it has arrested 40 people suspected of having plotted a "terrorist" attack on last week's Eurovision Song Contest in Baku.

The Azeri National Security Ministry says the plotters had planned to attack the event's venue - the Baku Crystal Hall - and several hotels on the eve of the competition.

The news was deliberately held back to prevent alarm among visitors, it adds.

There has been no independent confirmation of the alleged plot.

The suspects had "obtained Eurovision tickets with the aim of (committing) a terrorist act at the Baku Crystal Hall", the official statement said. Among the hotels named as targets were Hilton Baku and the JW Marriott Hotel.

They allegedly had links to neighbouring Dagestan, a mainly Muslim republic in the Russian North Caucasus plagued by Islamist insurgent attacks.

The suspects were found possessing guns and explosives, the ministry says.

Saturday's pop competition, watched by millions of TV viewers worldwide, was won by Swedish singer Loreen.

Twenty-six countries took part in the final in Baku, in front of a live audience of some 20,000.

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