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Hamas launched a cyberattack during rocket barrage, so Israel blew up their cyber command center

Hamas launched a cyberattack during rocket barrage, so Israel blew up their cyber command center

“Hamas no longer has cyber capabilities after our strike”

There appears to be a ceasefire, or at least pause in fighting, in the current Gaza conflict.

Hamas and Iranian-controlled Islamic Jihad launched over 600 rockets killing several Israeli civilians. The rockets were launched mostly from civilian locations in Gaza towards civilian locations in Israel.

Israel retaliated with attacks on terror installations, mostly empty buildings, with the exception of a targeted hit on the Hamas commander who coordinated Iranian funding. Anti-Israel congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib both blamed Israel for the conflict.

There are many recriminations in Israel that Israel did not take more forceful action to topple Hamas and other terror groups. This does appear to fit a pattern whereby Hamas uses rocket fire and other attacks (such as the violent border riots controlled by Hamas) to extract concessions from Israel.

Why would Israel seemingly capitulate to this extortion-by-rocket? I have a strong feeling that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is keeping his eye on the larger ball, which is Iran and Hezbollah in the north, and didn’t want to get bogged down with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the south.

This view is supported by the announcement that the U.S. is increasing both land- and sea-based military assets in the Persian Gulf region anticipating an Iranian or Iranian-proxy attack on U.S. and allied forces as oil sanctions cripple the Iranian economy. The Gaza conflict, in which the Iranian-controlled Islamic Jihad played a key role, likely was an Iranian diversion to keep Israeli military assets tied down during the bigger conflict to come.

Netanyahu didn’t take the bait. Only time will tell if this was the right decision.

Amidst the rocket fire and retaliatory strikes, one retaliatory strike stands out, Israel’s destruction of the Hamas cyber command center.

During the rocket attacks, Hamas launched a cyber attack on Israel. We don’t know the details of what they were attacking, but it likely was much more important than defacing websites. Israel not only stopped the cyber attack with its own cyber assets, but launched an attack on the building in which Hamas’ cyber command was located.

The Times of Israel reports:

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 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.

The IDF released video of the attack:

From the image of the building after the attack, released by the IDF, it’s pretty obvious that Hamas located the cyber command center in a civilian building.

[Photo credit; Israel Defense Forces]

That is typical for Hamas, which we have documented uses civilians as human shields, Remember, Hamas hides behind civilians and international media will try to cover it up.

While the U.S. has targeted ISIS operative involved in cyberwarfare in the past, this appears to be the first real-time military attack on a cyber command center, according to The Verge:

The Israel Defense Force says that it stopped an attempted cyber attack launched by Hamas over the weekend, and retaliated with an airstrike against the building where it says the attack originated from in Gaza. It’s believed to be the first time that a military has retaliated with physical violence in real time against a cyberattack….

What’s novel about this particular incident is that it appears to be the first time that a military has met a cyberattack with a real-world response during an ongoing battle. As ZDNet’s Catalin Cimpanu points out, the US targeted a member of ISIS back in 2015 after he released US service member records online, but that attack didn’t occur in real-time. “Israel’s response against Hamas marks the first time that a country has reacted with immediate military force to a cyber-attack in an active conflict,” Cimpanu writes.

The Verge asks whether the attack was appropriate:

Given that the IDF admitted that it had halted the attack prior to the airstrike, the question is now whether or not the response was appropriate.

Considering that the Hamas target likely was Israeli infrastructure and/or military assets, it certainly does seem appropriate and proportionate to the threat.

Israel could have leveled the entire building. But from the photo it’s clear that only the floors in question were hit. Also, it’s very likely that Israel sent warnings to civilians in the building — via cell phones and the so-called roof tap — to evacuate. That meant that civilians were spared, but so were the Hamas cyver operatives, who live to hack another day even if their command center was destroyed.

Welcome to cyber warfare, where the warfare part means just that.


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Look Closely at the Photograph.

One side of the building is blown out. Meanwhile, the other side of the building has intact glass windows.

It is stunning that the Israelis could minimize collateral damage like that.

    Andy in reply to MattMusson. | May 6, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    I don’t think this could be a real Hamas/Palestinian location, there weren’t enough innocent human shields strategically placed to be killed in the event of a counter attack.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to MattMusson. | May 6, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    It is stunning that they are not enhancing collateral damage. Wars, and this is a war, are won by making your opponent very sorry. This building should have been ground zero for a fuel air device incinerating a 2000 foot diameter circle. Nothing combustible would be left. That would make a statement that even dim witted palestinians would understand.

TrickyRicky | May 6, 2019 at 11:13 am

Does the IDF worry about appropriate levels of LBGTQ representation in their units? Do they worry about sourcing “green fuel” for their equipment?

Just asking for a friend.

Press release from Rep. Omar, “Some people did something in Gaza”

That’s nice, but if Hamas gets the Qatari money it was “lobbying” with missiles to obtain, is Israel really ahead? Wondering out loud.

    MattMusson in reply to JBourque. | May 6, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    You have to wonder how many of those 600+ missiles were paid for by money that Obama gave Iran?

    When it came to Arab/Israeli relations – Obama did everything but blow up a Sbarro’s.

Fine. Rocket the place. Israel should do whatever is needed to blunt Islamic aggression. But Hamas cyber command? What’s that amount to? A few on-site server boxes, a T1 line and a team of remote operators located in Iran? It’s not like this was Bletchly Park and IDF just whacked Mohammad bin-Turing and in the process obliterated ENIGMA.

My point? IDF is over-selling this minor event.

    Paul in reply to Tiki. | May 6, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Yeah, I logged in to post a similar comment.

    It’s ‘cyber’ so it can be done from anywhere with an internet link. Rest assured, the Iranians are helping them from a nice, warm safe place under a mountain somewhere.

    The IDF will continue to play whack-a-mole until they deal with the root of the problem.

If Israel can be this precise in destroying what they want, with little in the way of collateral damage, why bother with a ‘roof tap’?

Without the roof tap, Israel might just get some bigwigs or at least the operators of the computers at the same time they stop the cyber attack.

Pussy footen’ thru war doesn’t make much sense to me. Although I admit, Bibi just might know more about than I do about his enemies…and warfare. Maybe.

    alaskabob in reply to RITaxpayer. | May 6, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Because the World doesn’t care how indiscriminate jihadists are. But the minute one jihadist is killed everyone jumps on Israel’s case. Neat trick when oh say 1.5 billion people can play the victim card?

      JusticeDelivered in reply to alaskabob. | May 6, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      So, kill one and when they howl kill another 100,000. That is the only thing they will understand.

iconotastic | May 6, 2019 at 12:03 pm

Why wait for a cyber attack? Any and all Hamas facilities and people are legitimate targets. And the people are key, not the internet end points.

“There appears to be a ceasefire, or at least pause in fighting…”

That’s all a ceasefire ever is. A pause in the fighting. On the Korean peninsula the pause has lasted 66 years.

I have to admit I wondered about the ceasefire, and I read that Bibi was widely criticized for entering into it. No doubt he was consulted with the White House when making his decision.

Iran is testing US resolve knowing that they have a voice in Congress.(since none now at 1600) This will go deep quickly if shooting starts and Quds sleepers are activated in USA. I wonder how much of that money Obama freed up for Iran is now being used against US?

healthguyfsu | May 6, 2019 at 12:51 pm

Tlaib and Omar…right on cue.

“That meant that civilians were spared, but so were the Hamas cyver operatives, who live to hack another day…”

In other words, Israel didn’t do the job it needed to do.

Ant, meet boot.

Napalm the whole pile of crap until nobody moves.

The Israelis, following the example of Abraham at Soddom and Gomorrah, bargaining with God to save the possibly-nonexistent innocents in a region of evil-doers. They are better people than I am.

Israel deplatformed Hamas for opening an elective abortion (i.e. Pro-Choice) field. Here’s to positive developments.

Israel destroyed their cyber facilities. Hamas immediately asked for and got a Hudna. They’ll be back in business as soon as they replace the destroyed equipment.

Jerusalem Post has an article about a tip Mossad gave the US about an Iranian plot against the US.
Could be the reason for the carrier movement in the Gulf. Iran seems to be hurting from the sanctions -boo hoo for them.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to 4fun. | May 6, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Iran has a bit over 40 hydroelectric and dams. We should be knocking them out. That would really crimp their style.

Given that the IDF admitted that it had halted the attack prior to the airstrike, the question is now whether or not the response was appropriate.

What is wrong with these people? Were they dropped on the head?