Israel’s Advanced Tech Used to Penetrate Lebanese Phones, Carry Out Assassinations

Men place a banner on a damaged building that was hit late on February 14 by an Israeli strike, in Nabatieh, southern Lebanon February 16, 2024. REUTERS/Aziz Taher
Men place a banner on a damaged building that was hit late on February 14 by an Israeli strike, in Nabatieh, southern Lebanon February 16, 2024. REUTERS/Aziz Taher
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Israel’s Advanced Tech Used to Penetrate Lebanese Phones, Carry Out Assassinations

Men place a banner on a damaged building that was hit late on February 14 by an Israeli strike, in Nabatieh, southern Lebanon February 16, 2024. REUTERS/Aziz Taher
Men place a banner on a damaged building that was hit late on February 14 by an Israeli strike, in Nabatieh, southern Lebanon February 16, 2024. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Lebanon’s communication networks have become a source of profound concern for Hezbollah, particularly following successful Israeli intelligence operations that have penetrated the phones of key leaders and operatives, allowing for easy tracking and assassination.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has labeled mobile phones as “lethal informants” and urged party members to abandon their use.

Reports indicating Israel’s ability to infiltrate internet networks and access Wi-Fi systems have only heightened anxieties for the Lebanese group.

The reasons behind Israel’s effective execution of assassinations vary, including recruitment of local agents and possession of advanced technologies.

While ground agents have historically played a role, recent events raise questions about the extent to which Israel’s success is due to these operatives or its technological capabilities.

Communication and social media expert Omar Qasqas affirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Israel “has almost total control over Lebanese phone networks.”

According to Qasqas, Israel’s penetration of Lebanese phone networks occurs through malware attacks, phone calls, and exploiting vulnerabilities in phone networks, particularly transmission stations.

This allows Israel to eavesdrop on calls, access messages and images, and pinpoint device locations.

Mobile phone users often disable internet services and switch to Wi-Fi for security, but experts warn that Wi-Fi networks are not secure due to outdated technology.

Lebanon’s failure to invest in modernizing its communication infrastructure leaves it vulnerable to Israel’s advanced tactics.

Social media monitoring adds another layer of concern. Israel can access social media platforms to monitor user activity, even breaching profiles to track comments, likes, and friend requests.

This surveillance extends to all levels, posing significant privacy and security risks for users.

In light of these developments, Hezbollah’s call to abandon mobile phones underscores the gravity of the situation.



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.