IDF says it thwarted a Hamas cyber attack during weekend battle
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'Hamas no longer has cyber capabilities after our strike'

IDF says it thwarted a Hamas cyber attack during weekend battle

In addition to fighting digital threat, Israeli Air Force also bombs headquarters of terror group’s technology division in Gaza

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The remains of what the IDF says was the Hamas terror group's cyber unit in the Gaza Strip, which was destroyed in an Israeli Air Force strike on May 4, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)
The remains of what the IDF says was the Hamas terror group's cyber unit in the Gaza Strip, which was destroyed in an Israeli Air Force strike on May 4, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli military said its soldiers thwarted a cyber attack by the Hamas terror group over the weekend, without elaborating on the nature or target of the offensive.

The Israel Defense Forces said once the digital threat was neutralized, fighter jets destroyed the building housing the headquarters of the terror group’s cyber unit.

“Hamas no longer has cyber capabilities after our strike,” IDF spokesperson Ronen Manelis told reporters.

The attack came amid a weekend of intense fighting between the IDF and terror groups in the Gaza Strip. Since Saturday, Palestinian terrorists launched upwards of 600 rockets and mortar shells at Israel, killing two people, and fired an anti-tank guided missile at a car north of the Gaza Strip, killing the driver.

In response, the IDF conducted hundreds of airstrikes on targets linked to terror groups throughout the Gaza Strip, killing at least 14 Palestinians, nearly all of them members of rocket-launching cells.

The commander of the IDF’s Cyber Division, who can only be identified by his rank and first Hebrew letter of his name, Brig. Gen. “Dalet,” would only say that the cyber attack occurred Saturday and was aimed at “harming the quality of life of Israeli citizens.”

The military said much of the information about the attempted attack cannot be published as it might reveal to Hamas details about Israel’s cyber capabilities.

According to the officer, the attempt by Hamas was not a particularly advanced one. “We were a step ahead of them the whole time,” he said.

The IDF said the cyber operation was a collaborative effort between the elite Unit 8200 of Military Intelligence, the IDF’s Teleprocessing Directorate and the Shin Bet security service.

“Israel’s ability to defend itself and thwart cyber attacks means the Hamas terror group’s efforts to carry out attacks in the cyber realm fail time and time again,” a Shin Bet official said.

According to Dalet, this was one of the first incidents in which Israeli soldiers had to fend off a cyber attack while also fighting a physical battle.

“What’s special here is that we thwarted this threat under fire,” Dalet told reporters.

The general said Hamas likely knows by now that its effort failed.

“I believe that they know they didn’t succeed in doing what they intended to do,” Dalet said.

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