'Soldiers who appeared on ‘200 list’ may be terror targets'

IDF warns soldiers, officers whose names appeared on British website as war criminals for involvement in Cast Lead.

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January 13, 2011 06:42
2 minute read.
Website listing IDF 'war criminals' info shut down

War Criminals Website 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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The IDF has warned 200 soldiers and officers whose names appeared on a British website as war criminals for their involvement in Operation Cast Lead, about the possibility that they will be targeted by anti-Israel and possibly terrorist elements.

Senior officers who appeared on the list, such as head of the IDF’s Planning Directorate Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, have received special security attention, and other soldiers and officers received personal briefings last week regarding preemptive steps they should take to ensure their safety.

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The names of the 200 officers and soldiers were posted with their personal details on a website in November under the headline “Israel War Criminals,” for their involvement in the operation in the Gaza Strip two years ago. The website featured names, photographs, ranks, positions, birthdates, identity numbers and addresses of people who it claimed had played key roles in the operation.

According to an investigation launched by the IDF Operations Directorate, some of the information was obtained via Facebook. Other information is believed to have come from parts of the Interior Ministry’s Population Registry which was leaked to the Internet several years ago. The IDF, The Jerusalem Post has learned, is also still investigating the possibility that a soldier still in military service was involved in leaking the information.

Since the list was published, some of the soldiers on it have received letters from an Islamic center in Spain accusing them of war crimes.

“The threat varies,” a senior officer involved in the ongoing investigation said this week. “On the one hand, it could be hate mail, but it also could be a letter bomb.”



The IDF is particularly concerned about the leaking of senior officers’ addresses that appeared on the list, due to Hizbullah’s declaration that it is still planning to avenge the assassination of its military commander Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus three years ago, attributed to the Mossad.

The concern in the IDF is mostly focused on Facebook, where soldiers have previously posted pictures showing classified documents in the background or information about future operations, which then had to be canceled. The military had considered the possibility of forbidding soldiers to use the site, but was informed by legal advisers that such a move would be unconstitutional.

“We do not have a problem with soldiers using Facebook, but they have to do so wisely,” the officer explained. “The bottom line is that a soldier should not post any information about what they do as a soldier, since it can be later used against them by people [like those] who made the 200 list.”

The Operations Directorate sent a letter recently to all commanders in the IDF urging them to inform their subordinates about the potential risks that exist on Internet social networking sites such as Facebook.

In 2009, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) warned that terror groups were seeking to recruit Israelis as spies via Internet- based social groups like Facebook.

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