Hackers took control of Israel TV live broadcasts on channels 2 and 10, with Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani’s ‘divine retribution’ message being played.
This Sunday night, two TV channels in Israeli television were simultaneously hacked by anti-Israel hackers while broadcasters were speaking live.
Hackers successfully managed to show images of and a speech by Iran’s General Qassim Soleimani who was killed in January 2020. Soleimani was the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, an IRGC division primarily responsible for extraterritorial and clandestine military operations. He was in fact assassinated in a drone strike ordered by former US president Donald Trump while he was on a mission in Iraq
In the speech that took over the two above-mentioned TV channels for about a minute, Soleimani appeared and said “what the heck have you been able to do so far that you are threatening us? It is not necessary to deploy Iran’s armed forces. I’m able to confront you”.
The hacking is therefore believed to be carried out by hacking groups affiliated with Iran. Indirect attacks by Israel and Iran against each other is not a new story. The two have been engaged in a series of tit-for-tat moves especially during the recent months.
In mid-February, for instance, an Israeli airstrike reportedly destroyed hundreds of drones at an airbase belonging to the Revolutionary Guard in the Iranian province of Kermanshah.
A month later in March, Tehran claimed responsibility for a dozen ballistic missile strikes that hit a secret base owning by Israeli intelligence services in the Iraqi Kurdistan capital of Erbil. The following day, a large distributive denial of service (DDoS) cyberattacks hit most government websites in Israel and temporarily took them offline. Israeli media blamed Iran for the attack.
Other examples of escalating clashes include Israel’s assassination of Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, a senior officer in the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on May 22, and poisoning two other scientists from the IRGC a few days later. Israel also held a one-month long drill called the “Chariots of Fire” last month to stimulate attacking Iran’s nuclear sites.
The drill was supposed to have been held in May 2021 based on the scenario of a conflict with the Palestinians, but it was postponed by an 11-day war with Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas. The hacking comes as Israel has been steadily threatening Iran with war over its nuclear program. All these escalating moves have made the two arch enemies be locked in a shadow of war.
Not the first time
Israel TV channels have experienced hacking many times before what happened this Sunday night. In July 2014, for example, Israel regular TV programming was suddenly interrupted by a short video calling for an immediate end to Israeli airstrikes against the people in Gaza.
Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian political organization Hamas, claimed responsibility for the attack. The images broadcast by the hackers were accompanied by messages in Hebrew: “Your government chose to begin this campaign. If your government won’t agree to our terms then prepare yourselves for a drawn-out stay in bomb shelters.”
In November 2016, two Israeli television news programs were briefly hacked, with images promoting Islam showing a wave of fire shown on the screen suggesting divine retribution. A few months later in March that year, Israel’s Channel 2 reality show “Big Brother” was also hacked by a message of hatred from Hamas. “Learn from history,” said the Hamas message in Hebrew and Arabic. “Flee for your lives and get out of our country.”