Iranian hackers release footage of Jerusalem attack obtained from major security agency

Never-before-seen footage posted Thursday to the social media service Telegram by an Iranian hacker group showing a bombing in Jerusalem the day before came from surveillance cameras used by a major Israeli security organization.

The group, Moses Staff, claimed to have hacked into security cameras which were initially thought to have been tapped by the police. Earlier this year, the group released footage from dozens of cameras across Jerusalem and some in Tel Aviv.

“We were watched [sic] you for many years, every moment and every step. This is just part of our monitoring of your activities through access to CCTV cameras in the country. We said to ourselves that, we are going to hit you when you would never have imagined it”, wrote the group on its Telegram channel in January.

Police, however, denied that their cameras were operating in the area at the time of the attack, and the Jerusalem Municipality said the footage was not taken by a city-owned camera.

Police said they had been in possession of the clip for several hours after Wednesday morning’s twin bombings that killed a teenager and injured more than 20 others, denying reports that the hacking group erased the copy image police.

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Security officials confirmed that the camera in question was used by a major security organization, but did not specify which one.

Officials played down the incident, saying the camera, which can be remotely controlled to pan, tilt and zoom, was owned by a civilian company that works with Israeli security services.

“There is no security breach or leakage of classified information,” an official told Army Radio. The official said the camera was in “limited” use by the security agency and was not logged into its systems.

“It’s likely the hackers didn’t even know it was a camera used by security agencies,” an official told Channel 13.

“The effect of the incident is mainly to sow fear,” an official told the Ynet news site.

Further details were still banned from publication.

A security camera used by a security organization that was hacked by Iranian hackers, in Jerusalem on November 24, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The same hacker group claimed responsibility for a cyberattack in June that set off rocket sirens in parts of Jerusalem and the southern city of Eilat.

Last year, Moses Staff said it leaked sensitive information about the soldiers, which appeared to be publicly available information on LinkedIn, and aerial imagery of Israel, obtained through a commercial site.

In another unsubstantiated claim, the group claimed to have caused the crash of an army observation balloon in the Gaza Strip in June. The military said the balloon was not tied properly.

Police and security guards at the scene of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, November 23, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussil/Flash90)

No group claimed responsibility for Wednesday morning’s attack, which included two bombings, although it was hailed by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations.

The first explosion occurred near Jerusalem’s main entrance at Givat Shaul, shortly after 7 a.m., a peak hour for commuters. The second explosion occurred shortly after 7:30 a.m. at Ramot Junction, where busy roads intersect, in the northwest of the capital.

The first explosion killed Aryeh Schupak, a 16-year-old Israeli-Canadian yeshiva student. At least 23 people were injured in the two attacks.

Police deployed forces to Jerusalem and other parts of the country on Wednesday, while launching a manhunt for the suspected terror cell.

The head of the police operations division said that “two powerful and high quality explosive devices [capable of] high level of damage” were hidden behind the bus stop and in a bush. The remote-triggered devices were filled with nails and ball bearings to maximize casualties, police officials said.

Aryeh Schupak, 16, killed in a bomb attack outside Jerusalem on November 23, 2022. (Courtesy)

Due to the nature of the attack, with two nearly identical bombs exploding within half an hour of each other at two bus stops, Deputy Commissioner Sigal Bar Zvi said police suspected that an organized cell was behind her, rather than a single person.

Bombings of buses and public places were a feature of the second intifada from 2000 to 2005, but have mostly declined over the past 17 years, which Israeli officials have attributed to measures of increased security, including the security fence in the West Bank, and better intelligence.

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