The Shin Bet, Israel Security Agency, said on Thursday that Iran tried to lure Israelis abroad in order to abduct them.
According to the security service, Iranians using false identities, invited Israeli academics, businessmen, and former military and security officials to participate in events overseas. .
Iranian operatives posed in one case, as a European journalist and in another, as a Russian billionaire the Shin Bet said.
The Iranians would present a relevant "cover story" in order to gather information about the Israelis and draw them abroad with the intention to kidnap or hurt them.
However, this approach is not new to the Shin Bet, and it is a known method of the Iranian intelligence and security branches led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Quds Force, and Iran's intelligence ministry.
The Shin Bet said that in their mode of operations, Iran used relevant information such as research papers published by Israeli academicians, presenting themselves as known research institutes, with a known logo, and legitimate addresses that can be validated over the internet.
In addition, Teheran used the real identities of Israeli academics and reserve IDF officers, by using their image which was taken from the web or social networks.
In one of the malicious attempts, the Iranians posed as a Russian who is allegedly an assistant to a Russian billionaire. The assistant, who introduced himself as "Nikolai", contacted Israelis with the purpose to lure Israelis of Russian descent.
Nikolai offered them assistance and suggested they would meet with him abroad, claiming that the Russian billionaire has ties with Armenian officials, including the deputy prime minister.
In another attempt, a fictitious profile of a woman was used on Instagram in order to create a friendly or romantic connection with Israelis and abduct them.
Senior Shin Bet member said in response to the incidents that "many bogus profiles made by Iranian intelligence sources were identified, and a lot of data was collected about those who operate them.
Among other things, the vigilance of the Israeli civilians contributed to the successful thwarting of Iran's attempts and prevented a severe outcome."