The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, has recently exposed a covert Iranian espionage operation targeting Israeli defense officials and civilians. As reported by the Times of Israel on January 15, 2024.
Iranian intelligence operatives utilized fake social media accounts to contact and communicate with Israeli citizens and defense officials. These accounts, masquerading as far-right activists, supporters of hostages, and even public broadcasters, were designed to blend in seamlessly with legitimate online communities. The operatives behind these accounts engaged with Israelis, aiming to collect photographs and personal information about key Israeli officials and public figures critical of Iran.
The Iranian operatives also sent flowers and messages to the families of Israeli hostages, ostensibly in a show of solidarity. This act of feigned empathy was a strategic move to gain trust and, consequently, information from those closely connected to the ongoing war and hostage situation in the Gaza Strip. Iranian agents further exploited public sentiments by organizing gatherings near the homes of these families, and asking participants to photograph the demonstrations, providing the Iranians with visual intelligence.