update deskIsrael at War

Mourner’s wreath sent to hostage’s family; police suspect Iran

The police are investigating an incident in which a mourner's wreath was sent to the family of IDF soldier Liri Albag, who was kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7.

Liri Albag. Photo: Courtesy of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.
Liri Albag. Photo: Courtesy of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) announced on Sunday that a mourner’s wreath left outside the door of Hamas hostage Liri Albag’s family was the work of “Iranian elements.” Police have opened an investigation into the incident.

The wreath was delivered to her family’s home in Moshav Yarhiv in central Israel. It included the inscription, “May her memory be blessed. The country is the most important.”

Albag, 19, was captured from the Nahal Oz Base on the Gaza border on Oct. 7. She is still presumed to be alive, particularly following a Daily Mail report late last month stating that Israeli forces had found traces of her DNA in Gaza.

“Upon receipt of the complaint, it [the wreath] was sent for examination by professionals in the Investigations and Intelligence Division, together with the management of initial investigations of the Central District’s online crime unit,” said the Israel Police on Sunday.

Liri’s sister Roni told the Walla! news site, “On Friday, the security officer of the moshav saw it, took it straight to the police so that we wouldn’t see it and filed a complaint.

“I cried hysterically. How in the world are there people who would dare to send a mourner’s wreath to the family, when we know she is alive? I have no words. It’s shocking and makes me sick.”

The suspicion of Iranian involvement is of a piece with similar reports regarding Iranian activity against Israel post-Oct. 7.

A February report by Reichman University’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism found that since Oct. 7, Israel has been the target of a sophisticated digital disinformation network using techniques “inspired by previous Iranian campaigns.”

Researchers uncovered a network of false accounts designed to conduct espionage and sow mass disinformation, according to the report.

“Particularly on Instagram, Israeli pages have been inundated with comments in broken Hebrew, vehemently criticizing the government,” the report said.

“Unlike usual low-effort fake accounts, these accounts meticulously mimic young Israelis. They stand out due to the extraordinary lengths taken to ensure their authenticity, from unique narratives to the content they produce to their seemingly authentic interactions.

“This not only serves the purpose of convincing the average user of the authenticity of the person behind the username, but it also aims to evade the algorithm’s detection as inauthentic,” it added.

In January, the Shin Bet revealed that an Iranian network was seeking to recruit Israelis through social media for intelligence gathering about Israeli security officials.

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