Major GPS disruptions in Middle East coming from IDF airbase — NY Times

University of Texas researchers use signals picked up by satellites to pinpoint Ein Shemer Airfield as source

Illustrative: planes on an airport tarmac (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Illustrative: planes on an airport tarmac (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

An IDF airbase in northern Israel was identified as the source of many GPS attacks in the Middle East, according to a New York Times report on Wednesday.

Known as spoofing, the GPS attacks involve the scrambling of signals that misdirect aircraft instruments, making it difficult for them to determine their exact locations.

The method is also used to confuse enemy missiles, making it difficult for attackers to hit key targets accurately.

Northern Israel has experienced intense GPS jamming since the start of the war in Gaza on October 7, widely reported to be the result of Israeli efforts to limit the ability of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah — which has been attacking Israel on a daily basis since the start of the war — to carry out precise missile strikes

According to the New York Times report, University of Texas researchers Todd Humphreys and Zach Clements used signals from satellites that were emitted from the source of the attacks to determine the source, which they said they were “highly confident” was Ein Shemer Airfield, near Hadera.

The report estimated that the spoofing has affected more than 50,000 flights, misleading pilots’ systems into thinking that they were in Beirut or Cairo. All pilots flying into and out of the region are aware of the ongoing issue and regularly take steps to bypass it.

The IDF declined to comment on the report.

The Waze navigation app shows Tel Aviv motorists as if they were in Beirut on April 4, 2024 (Screenshot/Times of Israel)

Since the start of the war, users of driving navigation apps have often said their GPS was showing them to be in Beirut and other Lebanese locations, or in Cairo and its environs. Similar GPS disruptions were believed to be affecting dating apps in March as users in Israel and its bordering nations were being offered potential matches across borders, even in enemy states.

The IDF did not comment on those disruptions either.

War erupted on October 7 when Hamas attacked Israel, murdering 1,200 people and abducting 251, who were taken as hostages to Gaza.

Israel responded with a military offensive to topple the Hamas regime, destroy the terror group, and free the hostages, 116 of whom remain in captivity.

The day after the Hamas attack, the Iran-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah began near-daily attacks along the border with Israel, saying it was acting in support of Gaza.

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