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Israeli Security Agency foiled an Iranian attempt to recruit Israeli Jewish women to spy for Iran

The Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) foiled an Iranian attempt to recruit Israeli Jewish women to spy for Iran. According to a statement by the Israeli Security Agency, an Iranian intelligence agent approached the women using a false identity, “Rambod Namdar,” through Facebook and Instagram, presenting himself as a Jewish Iranian. At the request of “Rambod,” the interactions then shifted to the more secure messenger, WhatsApp. According to the ISA statement, “Rambod” avoided revealing his face in video chats he had with the women, claiming that his camera was not working. ISRAEL DETECTS CASE OF ‘FLURONA’ IN UNVACCINATED PREGNANT WOMAN 
This photo shows Rambod Namdar’s Instagram account. 
(Instagram)”Rambod” requested that the Israeli women take photos of the U.S. embassies in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, other government buildings, and a shopping mall. He also tried to persuade one of the women to send her son to join a specific unit in the IDF intelligence, potentially as a way of collecting information on the Israeli military.The Shin Bet and Israel Police investigation launched several weeks ago. Several women, all Jewish immigrants from Iran, along  with one man, were indicted last week in a Jerusalem court. All four individuals were charged with making contact with a foreign operative – a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. The individuals’ names are all barred from publication under a court-issued gag order, per their attorneys’ request. Israeli PM Naftali Bennett congratulated the Israeli Security Agency and Police and released a statement, noting that the “State of Israel is in an ongoing campaign with Iran. It is clear: We see never-ending efforts and attempts by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to recruit Israeli citizens.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the Jerusalem Post’s annual conference on October 12, 2021 in Jerusalem, Israel. 
(Amir Levy/Getty Images)”These attempts go beyond security and intelligence; they are expanding to efforts to influence the citizens of Israel and Israeli society, sow discord and polarization, undermine political stability in Israel and damage the public’s trust in the government,” Bennett added. An ISA senior official said that there has been an increase in Iranian espionage targeting Israeli women. The attempts seem innocent at first and are designed to draw Israeli women into ongoing relationships with Iranian spies. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP 
This picture taken on January 24, 2020 from the Mount of the Olives shows an Israeli flag flying (foreground) with the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Tor seen in the background. 
(AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)”The ISA will continue to foil Iran’s intelligence attempts, including by monitoring its online activity.” The official also called Israeli citizens to be on “alert for unusual approaches or requests on the internet, all the more so from those identifying as Iranian citizens.” This is not the first time Iranian intelligence has tried to lure Israelis into providing information using social media. In April of 2021, Iranian intteligence contacted dozens of Israeli men using a fake Instagram account. That attempt that was foiled by ISA and Mossad.

NATO, Russia summit wraps up: 'Not an easy discussion,' says NATO chief

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the talks with Russia Wednesday over military aggression along Ukraine’s border were “not an easy discussion.””We had a very serious and direct exchange on the situation in and around Ukraine. And the implications for European security,” Stoltenberg told reporters following the talks. “Our differences will not be easy to bridge.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the press ahead of a meeting of NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers.
(AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)BIDEN ADMIN BACKS UKRAINE AHEAD OF NATO, RUSSIA SUMMITThe secretary-general said despite the tough position that both NATO and Russia find themselves in, he believed the fact that the talks were held at all was a “positive sign.”The meeting comes after a monthslong military buildup along Ukraine’s southern border in what the Kremlin has argued is a security precaution.Russian President Vladimir Putin in December released a series of demands and said he needed a “guarantee” from the 30-nation alliance that it would not expand eastward into Ukraine. Putin has argued that should Kyiv be able to join NATO, “bases and strike weapons systems” could be placed in Ukraine and would pose an additional threat to the Kremlin.  But the U.S. and NATO have repeatedly said they will not enforce a blanket ban on member admittance to appease Russia – a sentiment that was repeated Wednesday.SEC. BLINKEN GIVES RUSSIA TWO CHOICES AHEAD OF TALKS IN GENEVA: ‘MASSIVE CONSEQUENCES’
President Biden and other NATO heads of the states and governments pose for a family photo during the NATO summit at the Alliance’s headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium.
(Kevin Lamarque/Pool via AP)”Allies on their side reaffirmed NATO’s Open Door policy. And the right for each nation to choose its own security arrangements,” Stoltenberg told reporters.”Allies made clear that they will not renounce their ability to protect and defend each other. Including with presence of troops in the eastern part of the alliance,” he added.Stoltenberg did not say whether any progress was made in de-escalating tensions in Eastern Europe, but said NATO members again called on the Kremlin to dismantle its 100,000 troop presence amassed on the border and refrain from “malign activities.”The Western nations proposed increased transparency when it comes to NATO military exercises in the region, arms control and a review of nuclear policies. 
Russian paratroopers load into a plane for airborne drills during maneuvers in Taganrog, Russia, Thursday, April 22, 2021. 
(AP Photo)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”NATO Allies are clear-eyed about the prospects for progress in these talks,” Stoltenberg said.”All this means that our dialogue is difficult, but even more necessary,” he added. “NATO Allies stressed that they will make every effort to find a political way forward.”

Israel says it took down Iranian spy ring targeting women

Israel says it has broken up an Iranian spy ring that recruited Israeli women via social mediaByThe Associated PressJanuary 12, 2022, 3:33 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleJERUSALEM — Israel said Wednesday that it had broken up an Iranian spy ring that recruited Israeli women via social media. The women agreed to photograph sensitive sites, gather intelligence and in at least two cases, to encourage their sons to join Israeli military intelligence.Israel views Iran as its greatest threat, and the two nations have been waging a shadow war for years. Israel has repeatedly threatened to take military action against Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran denies it is seeking such weapons and has vowed a harsh response to any aggression.Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service said a suspected Iranian intelligence operative identified himself as Rambod Namdar on Facebook and claimed to be a Jewish man living in Israel. He appears to have targeted Israelis of Iranian descent.It said a 40-year-old Israeli woman was in touch with him for several years and agreed to photograph the U.S. Embassy when it was in Tel Aviv, as well as an Israeli government office and a shopping mall. The recruiter asked her to encourage her son to join military intelligence for his mandatory service and even spoke to him by phone to evaluate his Persian language skills, it said.Another woman, 57, was in touch with the suspected recruiter for four years and was paid a total of $5,000 for a number of tasks. She also pressured her son to join military intelligence and sent his military documentation to the recruiter.She established a club for Israelis of Iranian descent in order to gather information about them and tried to cultivate ties with a member of Israel’s parliament, the Shin Bet said, without naming the lawmaker. She was also directed to install a hidden camera in a “massage room” in her home.The Shin Bet said the targets of the alleged spy network have been arrested and face “severe charges.”“We are seeing espionage attempts inside Israel by approaching Israeli women, supposedly innocently, and convincing them to maintain ongoing relationships,” the Shin Bet said.“Despite the suspects’ own suspicions that the man was an Iranian intelligence operative they decided to maintain the relationships and perform various assignments for him.”

COVID-19: Anti-vaccine protesters attempt to storm Bulgarian parliament

Protesters opposing COVID-19 restrictions in Bulgaria clashed Wednesday with police as they tried to storm the Parliament in the capital of Sofia. A heavy police presence prevented protesters from entering the building and some were detained. Several people, including police officers, were injured during the clashes. Eventually, the protesters were pushed back and police cordoned off the building. The violence erupted at a protest rally against mask and vaccine mandates organized by a nationalist group that is fiercely opposing the Bulgarian government’s anti-epidemic measures. COVID-19 VACCINE MANDATE NEEDS TO BE FULLY DEBATED, GERMAN PRESIDENT SAYS  
Police officers line up as they try to keep protesters away from the Bulgarian Parliament building in Sofia, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)”The aim of the protest is to remove the restrictive measures and especially, first of all, the unconstitutional green certificate,” Kostadin Kostadinov, leader of the Vazrazhdane party, said ahead of the protest. The nationalist group, which holds 13 seats in Parliament’s 240-seat chamber, has won support among opponents of coronavirus restrictions. The nearly 1,000 protesters, who waved national flags and sang patriotic songs, remained at the square in front of the National Assembly, saying they planned to stay there until their demands for abolishing the mandatory face masks and green vaccination status passes are met. 
Police officers try to keep protesters away from the Bulgarian Parliament building in Sofia, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. Protesters opposing COVID-19 restrictions in Bulgaria have clashed with police as they were trying to storm the Parliament in Sofia. Heavy police presence prevented protesters from entering the building and some were detained. 
(AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP  Bulgaria, which is facing a new surge in infections, is the least vaccinated country in the 27-member European Union, with only a third of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Speaking from his home, where he is quarantined for contacts with an infected person, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov called for calm and invited representatives of the protesters to his office on Friday to discuss their demands. 

Anti-vaccine protesters try to storm Bulgarian parliament

Protesters opposing COVID-19 restrictions in Bulgaria have clashed with police as they were trying to storm the Parliament in SofiaByThe Associated PressJanuary 12, 2022, 3:13 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleSOFIA, Bulgaria — Protesters opposing COVID-19 restrictions in Bulgaria clashed Wednesday with police as they tried to storm the Parliament in the capital of Sofia.A heavy police presence prevented protesters from entering the building and some were detained. Several people, including police officers, were injured during the clashes. Eventually, the protesters were pushed back and police cordoned off the building.The violence erupted at a protest rally against mask and vaccine mandates organized by a nationalist group that is fiercely opposing the Bulgarian government’s anti-epidemic measures.“The aim of the protest is to remove the restrictive measures and especially, first of all, the unconstitutional green certificate,” Kostadin Kostadinov, leader of the Vazrazhdane party, said ahead of the protest.The nationalist group, which holds 13 seats in Parliament’s 240-seat chamber, has won support among opponents of coronavirus restrictions.The nearly 1,000 protesters, who waved national flags and sang patriotic songs, remained at the square in front of the National Assembly, saying they planned to stay there until their demands for abolishing the mandatory face masks and green vaccination status passes are met.Bulgaria, which is facing a new surge in infections, is the least vaccinated country in the 27-member European Union, with only a third of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19.Speaking from his home, where he is quarantined for contacts with an infected person, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov called for calm and invited representatives of the protesters to his office on Friday to discuss their demands.———Follow all AP stories on the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

Suspect detained over 2012 slayings in French Alps

A French prosecutor says a suspect in the 2012 slayings of a British-Iraqi family vacationing in the French Alps and a cyclist has been detainedByThe Associated PressJanuary 12, 2022, 3:09 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articlePARIS — A suspect in the 2012 slayings of a British-Iraqi family vacationing in the French Alps and a cyclist has been detained, a French prosecutor said Wednesday.Saad al-Hilli, his wife Ikbal and his mother-in-law Souhaila al-Allaf were shot dead on a remote mountain road near Annecy in eastern France. French cyclist Sylvain Mollier was also killed in the shooting. Al-Hilli’s two young daughters, who were in the car at the time of the shooting, survived the attack.Prosecutor Line Bonnet tweeted that a person has been placed in police custody in the Chambery region “in connection with the investigation into the murders of the al-Hilli family and Sylvain Mollier, known as the ‘Chevaline events’ of Sept. 5, 2012.”She didn’t give further details on the case because the investigation is ongoing.French investigators have previously questioned persons of interest in the killings but nine years into the probe no charges have been filed in the case.The al-Hilli children, aged 4 and 7 at the time, were the only witnesses to the macabre killings that have puzzled French investigators. The case has international ramifications with links tying the slain family to Britain, Iraq, Sweden and Spain.In 2015, the prosecutor found no evidence to implicate a French motorcyclist that had been questioned by police in Annecy after British police issued a sketch of a motorcyclist seen near the crime scene.The four victims and the two young survivors were discovered by police in a wooded area on an isolated mountain road from the village of Chevaline, near bucolic Lake Annecy in eastern France.Eric Maillaud, the prosecutor in Annecy in 2012 said the 4-year-old girl who survived the shootings could not help their investigation because she was hiding under her mother’s legs during the killings. She was found inside the car about eight hours after the shootings.Her 7-year-old sister, who was shot in the shoulder and survived, was found bloodied and battered outside the vehicle, a BMW station wagon in which three of the bodies were found.The prosecutor has said 25 gun cartridges that were found inside the family vehicle. All those killed were found with at least three bullet wounds, each with one single shot to the head.

COVID-19 vaccine mandate needs to be fully debated, German president says

Germany’s president called Wednesday for a thorough debate over plans for compulsory coronavirus vaccinations for all adults in the country, saying such a drastic measure needs to be fully justified. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has backed calls for a vaccine mandate and lawmakers are expected to begin debating a bill later this month. Polls show a majority of people in Germany back compulsory vaccination against COVID-19, but a vocal minority opposes the idea. “I, for one, consider it necessary and will actively campaign for it,” Scholz told lawmakers in parliament in Berlin, adding that not getting vaccinated was not a personal decision since it has consequences for the entire society. COVID-19: GERMANY TO TIGHTEN RESTAURANT RULES WHILE CUTTING QUARANTINE TIME 
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks about the pros and cons of mandatory vaccination to overcome the Covid 19 pandemic in Germany at the start of a discussion with guests, as well as digitally connected participants, at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. 
(Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP)”There’s no decision you make just for yourself, and that’s why mandatory vaccination is also important,” he added. At a roundtable debate with citizens on the issue, however, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said “the exceptional situation of a pandemic increases the pressure for the state to act, but it doesn’t replace the requirement to weigh up arguments and balance interests.” “A vaccine mandate means a debate mandate,” he added. Steinmeier, whose role is largely ceremonial, said he wouldn’t take sides in the debate but urged those involved to have “respect for other positions, but also respect for facts and reason, that must be and remain our common currency.” He dismissed as “complete nonsense claims that the coronavirus pandemic has turned Germany into a dictatorship.” “Among friends, at work, in schools, in daycare centers, in clinics and nursing homes, in city halls, health offices and parliaments, people everywhere are trying to figure out together what needs to be done” to fight the pandemic, Steinmeier said. “And that’s exactly what this democratic struggle is about.” Among the people debating was a nurse from Cologne and the head of a nursing home in Berlin, who both stressed how essential it is to be vaccinated so that especially the most vulnerable of society — those who are ill and old — can be protected from the virus. A professor for health communication pointed out that a lot of the people who refuse to get vaccinated are simply afraid of the vaccines. Cornelia Betsch criticized authorities for initially missing many opportunities to better explain how safe and important the vaccines are. “Many people are simply afraid of getting vaccinated and a mandate can create counter feelings,” she said, encouraging efforts to reach out to talk to those who are hesitant about vaccinations. 
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at the speaker’s desk, attends a discussion about the pros and cons of mandatory vaccination to overcome the Covid 19 pandemic in Germany with guests, as well as digitally connected participants, at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. 
(Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP)Around 72.2% of Germans are considered fully vaccinated, while at least 44.2 % have received an additional booster shot. Germany’s disease control agency reported 80,430 new cases of COVID-19 in one day, a pandemic record, and 384 additional deaths. Among those who oppose a vaccine mandate are some members of the Free Democrats, who are part of Germany’s ruling coalition, and Germany’s former health minister, who pledged last summer not to introduce a general vaccine mandate. Political leaders have agreed to let lawmakers vote according to their own conscience on the issue. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP 
Lawmakers vote the tightening of the rules in the parliament building to combat the coronavirus during a session of the Parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)The looming mandate has been a rallying point for vocal anti-vaccine activists. Some recent demonstrations have turned violent in Germany, with protesters attacking police officers after being ordered to disperse. In neighboring Austria, the authorities on Wednesday ramped up the pressure on unvaccinated people by increasing spot controls in popular public places and shops. On Tuesday, police in Vienna alone checked people’s’ vaccination status 5,100 times and made sure people were wearing masks outside if social distancing could not be observed.