The home page appeared to show an image of a red ring once worn by slain Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Image Credit: Twitter: Jerusalem Post

Jerusalem: Hackers targeted the website of an Israeli newspaper on Monday, the anniversary of the 2020 killing of a top Iranian general, replacing its content with an image threatening a site associated with Israel’s undeclared nuclear weapons programme.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the hacking. The image posted on the Jerusalem Post’s website depicts a missile coming down from a fist bearing a ring long associated with Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general killed by a US drone strike in Iraq two years ago.

Also Monday, a group overseen by the British military said it had reports of a possible attack on a ship off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea, a crucial route for international trade. Yemen remains mired in a yearslong war pitting Iranian-backed militia against a Saudi-led coalition.

The image posted in the hack depicts an exploding target from a recent Iranian military drill designed to look like the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center near the city of Dimona. The facility is already home to decades-old underground laboratories that reprocess the reactor’s spent rods to obtain weapons-grade plutonium for Israel’s nuclear bomb program.

Under its policy of nuclear ambiguity, Israel neither confirms nor denies having atomic weapons.

In a tweet, the Jerusalem Post acknowledged being the target of hackers.

“We are aware of the apparent hacking of our website, alongside a direct threat to Israel,’’ the English-language newspaper wrote. “We are working to resolve the issue & thank readers for your patience and understanding.’’

The newspaper later restored its website. It noted Iran-supporting hackers previously targeted its homepage in 2020 “with an illustration of Tel Aviv burning as then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swam” with a life preserver.

There was no immediate response from the Israeli government. The hack comes after Israel’s former military intelligence chief in late December publicly acknowledged his country was involved in Soleimani’s killing.

Iran also did not immediately acknowledge the hack. However, the country has in recent days stepped up its commemorations of the slain Revolutionary Guard general. Memorial services were scheduled to be held Monday marking his death.

Meanwhile, the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations said it had received reports of an attack on a ship, giving its location as off the coast of Yemen, near the contested port city of Hodeida. The British military did not elaborate.

As the head of the Quds, or Jerusalem, Force of the Revolutionary Guard, Soleimani led all of its expeditionary forces and frequently shuttled between Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Quds Force members have deployed into Syria’s long war to support President Bashar Al Assad, as well as into Iraq in the wake of the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussain, a longtime foe of Tehran.

Soleimani rose to prominence by advising forces fighting the Daesh terror group in Iraq and in Syria on behalf of the embattled Al Assad.

US officials say the Guard under Soleimani taught Iraqi militants how to manufacture and use especially deadly roadside bombs against US troops after the invasion of Iraq. Iran has denied that. Many Iranians to this day see Soleimani as a hero who fought Iran’s enemies abroad.