Israeli intelligence warns on internet use

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s domestic intelligence agency issued a rare public warning on Monday that terror groups were using popular social networking Web sites like Facebook to recruit, and possibly kidnap, Israeli citizens.

The Shin Bet security service said in its statement it had “received many reports of terror groups approaching Israelis on the internet offering to recruit them … and possibly kidnap them”.

The statement mentioned one incident in which an Israeli citizen had been approached on Facebook by a man who described himself as a Lebanese merchant and then offered to pay for classified information.

“The option exists, it’s easy, since many Israelis, not only young ones, sit at the computer a lot,” Elkana Har-Nof of Israel’s counter-terrorism headquarters later told Channel Two television. “It is a weapon for terrorist organisations.”

Israel has warned against reprisals from the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah after its military mastermind, Imad Moughniyeh, was killed in a 2007 car bombing in Damascus.

Hezbollah blamed Israel for the attack and has vowed revenge. Israel has denied involvement in Moughniyeh’s death.

The Shin Bet said that in the past several years a number of Israeli citizens and residents were arrested after being recruited by terror groups over the internet.