The Jerusalem Post

‘Iran tried luring Israelis abroad with honey traps’

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Iranian intelligen­ce tried to lure Israelis abroad to harm or abduct them, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Mossad reported Monday.

Iran used fictitious social-media profiles on online platforms such as Instagram to contact Israelis who travel abroad frequently for business.

Using pictures of attractive women to entice Israelis, Iranian intelligen­ce agents utilized the profiles as a means to coordinate meetings with “business” or “romantic” pretexts.

According to the Israeli intelligen­ce agencies, Iranian agents tried to coordinate these meetings in countries where Iranian assets are present, such as Arab countries, Turkey, Gulf states, Central Asia, Africa and Europe.

This method bears a strong resemblanc­e to previous intelligen­ce techniques used by agents against Iranian dissidents living in Europe. It has now been employed on Israelis visiting other countries.

In response to this threat, Israeli security officials have begun calling on citizens with business ties abroad to be extra

vigilant regarding suspicious inquiries received on social media from profiles they do not recognize.

Last year, the IDF said it foiled a Hamas network posing as attractive young women on social networks to lure soldiers in an effort to access informatio­n and intelligen­ce on the army.

The cellphones of hundreds of soldiers, including from

combat units, were compromise­d in the third such Hamas honeypot operation foiled by the military and the Shin Bet since 2017.

According to the IDF, there have been a number of improvemen­ts by Hamas, including the use of new platforms such as Telegram alongside Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp.

Hamas improved its ability to start a dialogue with soldiers, using hashtags and slang, the IDF said, adding that it also started sending voice messages in an attempt to sound more believable.

The IDF identified six main characters used by Hamas, many of whom presented themselves as new immigrants to Israel with hearing or vision problems to explain their lessthan-fluent Hebrew.

 ?? (Shin Bet) ?? FAKE PROFILES used by Iran to lure Israelis.
(Shin Bet) FAKE PROFILES used by Iran to lure Israelis.

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