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Allies? Snowden Leak Reveals US, UK Intelligence Hacking Israeli Drones

Sputnik News

14:34 29.01.2016(updated 14:35 29.01.2016)

US and UK intelligence services have been hacking Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) signals to spy on military operations in Gaza, the documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed Friday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has been running a classified intelligence program code-named 'Anarchist' in cooperation with the US National Security Agency (NSA), aiming to gather information in Israeli military operations in Gaza, The Intercept reported on the leaked documents.

Using a British Royal Air Force (RAF) facility in Cyprus, Anarchist operatives tapped into Israeli drone satellite signals, gathering aerial view snapshots and mapping UAV flight paths.

The information was also used to monitor Israeli efforts against drones used by Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, watching for a potential Israeli strike against Iran and keeping up to date with Israeli UAV technology, according to the report.

Snapshot drone camera images released to the public domain for the first time reveal Israel's use of armed drones, something that the country has been denying. Images included in the leaked GCHQ documents show drones carrying objects that appear to be missiles, according to experts interviewed in the report. Although widely reported, the fact of Israel's use of armed UAVs has been strictly censored in the country's media.

Israel has been an important target for US intelligence services. Despite close military cooperation between the two countries, the United States remains cautious of Israel's military activities.

Reports emerged late 2015 of the US President Barack Obama's administration maintaining a close intelligence watch on Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite vowing to curtail spying on allied states some two years ago.


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