“The clear majority of Israeli citizens [who were contacted] refused to cooperate” and broke off ties with the terror operatives, says the Shin Bet.
By World Israel News Staff
Israel says it has uncovered “a network to recruit people from Israel, Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip for Iranian intelligence.”
A statement issued by the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, says it cracked the case working together with the IDF, Israel Police, and additional security elements in recent months.
“The network was based in Syria under Iranian guidance and was led by a Syrian operative nicknamed ‘Abu Jihad,'” says the statement.
Preliminary recruitment attempts were made through fictitious Facebook profiles; later, they opted for messaging apps, says the Shin Bet.
Israeli authorities say that this case “joins other recent events in which terrorist elements, including those from Hamas and Hezbollah, have established contacts with Israeli Arabs and Palestinians over the internet in order to recruit them for intelligence gathering and terrorist activity.”
Recruits are asked, says the Shin Bet, to collect information on military bases, sensitive security installations, VIPs, police stations, and hospitals, among other crucial details, “to prepare targets for terrorist attacks in Israel at the behest of Iran.”
The Israeli intelligence community, which prides itself in its cybersecurity prowess, was “closely monitoring both the handlers abroad and people in Israel and Judea and Samaria who expressed willingness to cooperate,” says the Shin Bet, adding that the Iranian scheme had been “identified and monitored” by Israel from “the outset” of the operation.
The planned terror targets were both civilian and military, says the Israeli security agency.
“The counter-operations have shown that the clear majority of Israeli citizens [who were contacted] refused to cooperate with those who contacted them, due to suspicions that their interlocutors were from a hostile source.” As a result, says the Shin Bet, the would-be recruits broke off ties with the terror operatives.