Israel: Syrian tried to recruit spies for Iran on Facebook

TEL AVIV (dpa)- A Syrian operative nicknamed "Abu Jihad" led an initiative to recruit people from Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for Iranian intelligence, the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, said on Wednesday.
The network was based in Syria under Iranian guidance and attempted to recruit people via fictitious Facebook profiles and later messaging apps, according to a press release by the Shin Bet.

Beginning in April, a counteroperation was launched against operatives in Israel and the West Bank, including several Israeli citizens who are suspected of having been in contact with Iranian operatives, the agency said.
The investigation revealed that the connection with the Syria-based handlers developed to the level of passing information and directions for planned terrorist attacks against Israeli targets, both civilian and military, it continued.
However, it said, "the decisive majority of Israeli citizens refused to cooperate with those who contacted them, due to suspicions that their interlocutors were from a hostile source, and severed the contacts."
The radical Islamist Hamas movement in Gaza and the pro-Iranian Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah have also made efforts to establish contact with Israeli Arabs and Palestinians over the internet in order to recruit them for intelligence gathering and terrorist activity, the statement added.
In June, the Shin Bet said it had arrested a Jordanian citizen, originally from the West Bank Palestinian city of Hebron.
The Jordanian had allegedly entered Israel on behalf of Iranian intelligence to carry out a mission intended to advance the establishment of infrastructure in Israel and the West Bank that would serve clandestine Iranian activities, according to the agency.

Thursday, July 25th 2019

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