Iranian intelligence tried to lure Israelis abroad to harm or abduct them, a joint operation conducted by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) and Mossad revealed on Monday.

Iran used fictitious online social media profiles on platforms like Instagram to contact Israelis with foreign business ties who travel frequently abroad.

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, which has now been employed on Israelis visiting other countries.

As a consequence of this threat, Israeli security officials have begun calling on citizens with business ties abroad to be extra vigilant and aware of 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 order to access information and intelligence on the army.

The phones of hundreds of soldiers, including combat soldiers, were compromised in the third such Hamas honeypot operation foiled by the Israeli military and the Shin Bet since 2017.

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

Hamas, the military said, improved its ability to start a dialogue with soldiers, using hashtags and slang. The group also started sending voice messages in an attempt to make the enemy account 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 less-than fluent Hebrew.

Source » jpost