Hamas Officially Reveals Existence Of Cyber Unit After Eight Years Of Activity

October 19, 2022

On October 13, 2022, the Izz ad-​Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, held a memorial ceremony in the Gaza Strip for Hamas commander Jum'ah 'Abdallah Muhammad A-Tahlah aka Abu Mujahid who was killed in May 2021 during Operation Guardian of the Walls, which Hamas refers to as the Sword of Jerusalem campaign. It was at the ceremony, which was held in the presence of senior members of the organization, when for the first time Izz ad-Din al-Qassam referred officially to the existence of its cyber unit. Al-Tahlah was one of the founders and commanders of the unit.

It should be noted that the existence of the unit was no secret, and during the 2021 campaign, Israel announced that it had attacked several buildings belonging to the Hamas cyber unit. For example, on May 19, 2021, the Israeli Air Force reported that it had "neutralized three Hamas terror operatives located in an operational hideout apartment in Gaza City belonging to the Hamas cyber unit." According to the report, "The apartment was located adjacent to a kindergarten."

Pictured above is the symbol of the Hamas cyber unit

The Izz ad-​Din al-Qassam Brigades website states that the unit was established in October 2014, and that over the past eight years it has carried out "painful attacks on the Zionist enemy and the [Israeli] security forces and army." The website also claims that the unit possesses additional "surprises" for Israel.

A drone expert, Al-Tahlah was tasked with setting up the unit, and his first step was to recruit and train its members. At the same time, Al-Tahlah established another cyber unit, The Al-Quds Electronic Army, whose aim was to recruit cyber experts from the Arab and Muslim world in order to perpetrate cyberattacks against Israeli interests.

Pictured above is the late Hamas commander Jum'ah 'Abdallah Muhammad A-Tahlah

The Izz ad-​Din al-Qassam Brigades website also claims that the cyber unit's first attacks targeted the command and control systems of the kibbutz communities located in the Gaza Envelope, and that these were followed by a cyberattack on military surveillance towers in the same area.

The site further claims that the unit secretly successfully hacked IDF servers and computer systems during the confrontation between Israel and Hamas in May 2019, and that it perpetrated a cyberattack on the command systems responsible for the supply of electricity to various security institutions and military bases, among them the headquarters of IDF Southern and Central Command.

A list on the website details the major attacks carried out by the unit from its inception until 2022, which includes a takeover of the system that controls Israel's air raid sirens; tapping into the IDF wireless communications network on the Gaza border; hacking the Egged bus company computer system; hacking the security cameras at security institutes; and hacking Israeli websites.

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