Turkish Cypriot leaders have rejected Israeli allegations that the north was being used by Iran to harbour terrorists with the aim of attacking Israelis in Cyprus.

Israel had said on Sunday it was “troubled” by what it saw as Iranian use of the north “both for terrorism objectives and as an operational and transit area”.

In response, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said “the TRNC would never allow terrorist acts to occur on its own territory.”

He added, “necessary precautions are always being taken at our sea, land and air borders to prevent such incidents from occurring.”

He also pointed out that both arrests made in connection with the incident were made in the Republic and said “such an incident did not take place in the TRNC.”

The north’s ‘foreign ministry’ added: “the Israeli government is continuing to make statements which are inconsistent with the facts, in order to distract international public opinion from its inhumane attacks in Gaza and the West Bank and the massacre of Palestinian civilians.

“The latest example of this is the claim made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office that Iran is using our country for its so-called terrorist activities,” they added.

They said, “we strongly reject this evidence-free, unfounded, and malicious allegation.

“We would like to inform the whole world that we will not allow the TRNC, a country of peace and security, to be drawn into dark and dirty games, and that we will continue to be resolute to ensure the security of everyone living in our country,” they added.

‘Parliament speaker’ Zorlu Tore said “Tel Aviv and south Nicosia are carrying out a smear campaign against the TRNC, but they will not be successful.”