Shin Bet Says Iran Attempted to Lure Israelis Abroad to Abduct Them

(Sliman Khader/FLASH90)

Iranian intelligence agents’ attempts to lure Israeli academics and former senior members of the defense establishment abroad by contacting them while impersonating academics, journalists, businessmen and philanthropists were exposed and thwarted, the Shin Bet revealed Thursday.

The Shin Bet found that the Iranian agents were using authentic identities of foreign entities who were unaware of the use made of their identity, unlike previous exposed Iranian schemes which involved using fake identities.

The contacts with the Israelis were made while presenting a “cover story” to gather information about the targets and draw them abroad with the intention of kidnapping or harming them.

“It is a well-known method of operation of the Iranian intelligence and security bodies, headed by the Intelligence Organization of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Qods Force and the Ministry of Intelligence,” the Shin Bet said.

Contact with Israeli citizens was made by email, using an address similar to the authentic “stolen” address, changing a letter or sign. After making initial contact with the Israeli target, he was asked to switch to a conversation on WhatsApp through a new phone number that was unfamiliar to him.

The Israeli citizens who received these suspicious inquiries refrained from responding to them and alerted the security forces.

The authentic identities of Israeli academics and reservists were also used, including through the use of their photos from the academy’s websites and social networks.

Together with this method, Iranian attempts to connect with Israeli citizens on social media through fictitious profiles continue.

A senior Shin Bet source stated that “as part of the affair, many profiles used by Iranian intelligence agencies were located, and a great deal of information was gathered about the factors behind the operation. The vigilance of the citizens contributed to the thwarting and prevented serious incidents.”

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