Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Hackers targeted an Israeli newspaper’s website on Monday, the anniversary of the 2020 murder of a top Iranian general, replacing its content with an image threatening a site associated with Israel’s undeclared nuclear weapons program.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the hack. The image published on the Jerusalem Post website shows a missile descending from a fist bearing a long ring associated with Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general killed in a US drone strike in Iraq two years ago.
Also on Monday, a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen accused Iran-backed Houthi rebels of seizing an Emirati-flagged vessel off the port of Hodeida in the Red Sea. The rebels did not immediately recognize the incident.
Also on Monday, a group supervised by the British military said it had reports of a possible attack on a ship off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea, a crucial route for international trade. Yemen remains mired in a multi-year war pitting Iranian-backed rebels against a Saudi-led coalition.
The image posted in the hack shows an exploding target from a recent Iranian military exercise designed to resemble the Shimon Peres Negev nuclear research center near the town of Dimona. The facility already houses decades-old underground laboratories that reprocess spent reactor rods to obtain military-grade plutonium for Israel’s nuclear bomb program.
As part of its policy of nuclear ambiguity, Israel neither confirms nor denies having atomic weapons.
In a tweet, the Jerusalem Post admitted to being the target of hackers.
âWe are aware of the apparent hacking of our website alongside a direct threat to Israel,â the English-language newspaper wrote. âWe are working to resolve the issue and thank the readers for your patience and understanding. ”
The newspaper then restored its website. He noted that hackers backing Iran had previously targeted its homepage in 2020 “with an illustration of Tel Aviv burning as then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swam” with a life jacket. rescue.
There was no immediate response from the Israeli government. The hack comes after Israel’s former military intelligence chief publicly admitted in late December that his country was involved in Soleimani’s murder.
Iran also did not immediately recognize the hack. However, the country has stepped up in recent days its commemoration of the general of the Revolutionary Guards killed. Memorial services were due to take place on Monday marking his death.
Meanwhile, the British Army’s UK Maritime Trade Operations said it received reports of an attack on a ship, giving its location off the coast of Yemen, near the disputed port city of ‘Hodeidah. The British military did not specify.
The proposed coordinates matched the UAE-flagged Rwabee landing craft, which had not given its location via satellite tracking data for hours, according to the MarineTraffic.com website.
A statement from the Saudi-led coalition broadcast by the kingdom’s state television later admitted to the attack, saying the Houthis had committed an act of “armed piracy” involving the ship. The coalition claimed the ship was carrying medical supplies for a Saudi field hospital, without providing any evidence.
An employee of the ship’s owners, Abu Dhabi-based Liwa Marine Services, told The Associated Press the Rwabee appeared to have been the target, but said he had no further information and declined to comment further. . The employee did not give her name and hung up.
As the head of the Revolutionary Guard Force Quds, or Jerusalem, Soleimani led all of his expeditionary forces and frequently shuttled between Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Members of the Quds Force were deployed in the long war in Syria in support of President Bashar Assad, as well as in Iraq following the 2003 American invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, a longtime enemy from Tehran.
Soleimani rose to prominence by advising forces fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria on behalf of the besieged Assad.
US officials say the Guard led by Soleimani taught Iraqi militants how to make and use particularly deadly roadside bombs against US troops after the invasion of Iraq. Iran has denied this. Many Iranians to this day regard Soleimani as a hero who fought Iran’s enemies abroad.
Associated Press editors Isabel DeBre in Dubai and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.
Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.