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Jerusalem Post site hacked as Iran marks killing anniversary

January 3, 2022

The Israeli news site is back to normal functioning after being hacked with a pro-Iran image. The incident comes as Iran prepares to mark two years since the killing of Qassem Soleimani.

The image that was shown on the Jerusalem Post website after it was hacked: on the top of he image a fist with a distinctive red ring from which a bullet-like rocket is falling. Below is a building that has just begun to explode. A message says "We are close to you where you do not think about"
The image that visitors saw while trying to access the Jerusalem Post website on Monday morningImage: The Jerusalem Post

The website for the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post was down for a short while early on Monday morning after it was targeted by hackers.

The content of the page was inaccessible. Instead, visitors saw a picture of an exploding building with a rocket falling from the sky, appearing to come from a red ring on a clenched fist.

The image was accompanied by a threatening message in English and Hebrew, saying: "We are close to you where you do not think about it."

"We are aware of the apparent hacking of our website, alongside a direct threat to Israel," the English language newspaper wrote on Twitter. "We are working to resolve the issue and thank readers for your patience and understanding." 

The paper later restored its website. It mentioned how Iran-supporting hackers previously targeted its page in 2020 "with an illustration of Tel Aviv burning as then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swam" with a life preserver.

The hacking occurred on the anniversary of the assassination of the top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Iraq two years ago. Israel first publicly acknowledged its involvement in the killing of Soleimani in late December.

Hack references Israel's nuclear program

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the hack.

The building in the image was a replica of the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center near the city of Dimona, used by the Iranian military for target practice.

The facility is part of Israel's infrastructure for developing weapons-grade plutonium to be used in the country's nuclear weapon program.

Israel does not officially confirm possessing nuclear weapons. Nor does it deny it, pursuing instead a policy of nuclear ambiguity.

Who was Qassem Soleimani?

Soleimani has been a very influential figure in the Islamic Republic of Iran, heading up the Quds (the Arabic name for Jerusalem) Force of the Revolutionary Guard.

DW‘s NATO correspondent Teri Schultz on the fallout from General Soleimani’s killing

He was integral to Iran's involvement in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon where they have backed Shia groups, including Syrian President Bashar Assad.

His assassination by drone strike shocked Iran and he remains a popular figure among Iranians.

The government is planning on holding memorial services to mark the two-year anniversary of the general's death throughout Monday.

ab/rc (AP, Reuters)