The Israel Defense Force (IDF) claims to have neutralized an “attempted” cyber attack by launching airstrikes on a building in Gaza Strip from where it says the attack was originated.
As shown in a video tweeted by IDF, the building in the Gaza Strip, which Israeli fighter drones have now destroyed, was reportedly the headquarters for Palestinian Hamas military intelligence, from where a cyber unit of hackers was allegedly trying to penetrate Israel’s cyberspace.
“We thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli targets. Following our successful cyber defensive operation, we targeted a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work. HamasCyberHQ.exe has been removed,” said the Israeli Defence Forces on Twitter.
However, the Israel Defense Force has not shared any information about the attempted cyber attack by the Hamas group, saying it would reveal the country’s cyber capabilities.
According to Judah Ari Gross of Times of Israel, the commander of the IDF’s Cyber Division said, “We were a step ahead of them the whole time,” and “this was one of the first times where Israeli soldiers had to fend off a cyber attack while also fighting a physical battle.”
However, it’s not the first time when a country retaliates to a cyberattack with a physical attack. In 2015-16, the U.S. military reportedly killed two ISIS hackers—Siful Haque Sujan and Junaid Hussain of Team Poison hacking group—using drone strikes in Syria.
The commander did not reveal the name of the target, but did say that the cyber attack by Hamas was aimed at “harming the way of life of Israeli citizens.”
The tension between Israel and Hamas has increased over the last year, with the latest conflict began on Friday after Hamas militants launched at least 600 rockets and mortars at Israel and shot two Israeli soldiers.
In retaliation to the violence by Hamas, the Israel military has carried out their own strikes on what it claimed were hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the coastal enclave.
So far, at least 27 Palestinians and 4 Israeli civilians have been killed, and over 100 of them have been injured.
The IDF said its airstrike targeted and killed Hamed Ahmed Abed Khudri, who the Israel military reportedly accused of funding the Hamas rocket fire attacks by transferring money from Iran to armed factions in Gaza.
“Transferring Iranian money to Hamas and the PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] doesn’t make you a businessman. It makes you a terrorist,” IDF wrote in a tweet that included an image of a Toyota car in flames.
In a new development, Israel has stopped its air strikes on the Palestinian territory and lifted all protective restrictions imposed near the Gaza area, after Palestinian officials offered a conditional ceasefire agreement with Israel to end the violence.