Israel using cell phones to caution Gazans

Palestine cell phone

IDF calling

On December 4 we reported that the Israeli intelligence services appeared to be calling thousands of seemingly random telephone subscribers in Syria with automated messages in Arabic, inquiring about missing Israeli soldiers and offering a multimillion dollar reward. It now appears that Israeli agents are again employing cell phones, this time to warn Palestinian civilians in the Gaza strip that they may become targets if they live nearby Hamas-affiliated facilities. An article in The Australian reports that an undisclosed number of Gaza residents have been receiving “unusual phone calls” during the past three days, with an automated request in Arabic “that they and their families leave their homes as soon as possible for their own safety”. The male voice is said to identify itself as representing the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). In July 2008, Lebanon’s Minister of Telecommunications, Jibran Bassil, accused Israeli intelligence of targeting numerous phone numbers in Lebanon with recorded messages regarding a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hezbollah. This would appear to be the third time that Israel targets random telephone numbers in Arab countries or territories. The random phone calls technique seems to be a creative, though risky, method of communicating directly with populations in enemy countries, while simultaneously evading those countries’ government-controlled media. [IA]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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