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Three residents of northern Israel have been charged with facilitating the creation of cyber threats against the communications infrastructure used by the IDF. They were also accused of providing confidential information to a cell of a terrorist organization in Turkey. The prime suspect in the case has been identified as R.A. He worked as a software engineer at Cellcom. The suspect had broad access rights to the company's computer and information systems. In 2017, he met with Hamas officials in Turkey through the mediation of the group's operative Ashraf Hassan. R.A gave Hamas confidential information about the communications infrastructure in Israel to help the terrorists damage it during the escalation. In 2021 and 2022, he met with Hamas operative Azzam Akra, who asked him for any information that would help the terrorists' operations. Both Hassan and Aqra operate under the command of Saleh al-Aruri, who is in charge of Hamas activities in Judea and Samaria. Akra requested access to Cellcom's computer and information systems. Returning to Israel, R.A. met with the second suspect, identified as S.A., to obtain information about vulnerabilities in Cellcom systems. S.A., who worked as an external consultant for Cellcom, knew that R.A. collected data for Hamas, but this did not stop him from providing the requested information. Since 2015, both of them began to discuss among themselves ways to disable or disrupt Cellcom systems in order to help terrorists. According to the Shin Bet, the suspects posed a threat to national security “in a very real and serious way.” Their arrest and interrogation thwarted attempts by Hamas to gather more information and harm Israel. R.A.'s brother, Z.A., was also in contact with Ashraf and met with him at least three times. At one of the meetings R.A. asked Z.A. convey his request for a secure connection to avoid surveillance and control by the Israeli authorities.
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