The Jerusalem Post hacked on the Iranian general’s assassination anniversary

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Hackers targeted an Israeli newspaper website on Monday, the anniversary of …

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – On Monday, hackers targeted an Israeli newspaper website, the anniversary of the assassination of a top Iranian general in 2020, and replaced its content with an image threatening a website linked to Israel’s undeclared nuclear weapons program.

No group immediately took responsibility for the hacking. The image on the Jerusalem Post’s website shows a missile falling from a fist carrying a ring long associated with Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general who was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq two years ago.

Also on Monday, a group monitored 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 is still stuck in a years-long war in which Iranian-backed rebels set Iranian-backed rebels up against a Saudi-led coalition.

The image 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 city of Dimona. The plant is already home to decades-old underground laboratories that reprocess the reactor’s used rods to obtain weapons-grade plutonium for Israel’s atomic bomb program.

Under its policy of nuclear ambiguity, Israel neither confirms nor denies having nuclear weapons.

In a tweet, the Jerusalem Post acknowledged being the target of hackers.

“We are aware of the apparent hacking of our website along with a direct threat to Israel,” the English-language newspaper wrote. “We are working to resolve the issue and thank your readers for your patience and understanding.”

The newspaper later restored its website. It noted that Iran-backed hackers previously targeted their website in 2020 “with an illustration of Tel Aviv burning while then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swam” with a lifeguard.

There was no immediate response from the Israeli government. The hack comes after Israel’s former military intelligence chief publicly acknowledged in late December that his country was involved in Soleimani’s killing.

Iran also did not immediately acknowledge the hack. In recent days, however, the country has turned up its memorial service for the general of the slain Revolutionary Guards. Memorial services were scheduled to be held Monday to mark his death.

Meanwhile, the British military’s British maritime trade operations said they had received reports of an attack on a ship, giving its location off the coast of Yemen, near the disputed port city of Hodeida. The British military did not elaborate.

The coordinates it offered corresponded to the Rwabee landing craft under Emirati, which had not given its location via satellite tracking data for hours, according to the website MarineTraffic.com. An employee of the ship’s owners, Abu Dhabi-based Liwa Marine Services, told the Associated Press that Rwabee appeared to have been the target, but said they had no other information and declined to comment further. The employee did not give up his name and hung up.

As leader of Quds, or Jerusalem, the force of the Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani led all his expeditionary forces and frequently commuted between Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Quds Force members have been deployed to Syria’s long war to support President Bashar Assad, as well as in Iraq in the wake of the US-led invasion in 2003 that overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein, a longtime enemy of Tehran.

Soleimani became prominent by advising forces fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria on behalf of the attacked Assad.

U.S. officials say the guard under Soleimani taught Iraqi militants how to manufacture and use, in particular, deadly roadside bombs against U.S. troops following the invasion of Iraq. Iran has rejected it. Many Iranians today see Soleimani as a hero who fought against Iran’s enemies abroad.

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Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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