Hamas has turned to messaging app WhatsApp as an intelligence-gathering tool.
By World Israel News Staff
Hamas has stepped up its efforts to gain intelligence about the Israel Defense Forces, Ynet news reports on Monday.
The terror group’s members have been using the popular messaging app WhatsApp to pose as Israeli soldiers in order to wean classified information from real IDF servicemen.
“In one case, a Hamas member ‘proved’ his identity by presenting a schedule of paratroopers trained in the fighting in Gaza,” Ynet reports.
The Israeli news site says that the use of WhatsApp is a new wrinkle in Hamas’ ongoing efforts to gain sensitive information from soldiers, particularly in the Gaza Division. In earlier attempts, it used dating and sports sites, as well as Facebook, targeting Israeli soldiers based on their location and phone number.
But a case reported this month has sparked concern within the IDF, Ynet says. A soldier from a paratrooper battalion received a message from someone presenting himself as another soldier and asking for information about training in his battalion.
This type of information can be of great value, as it may include the times a battalion leaves the area and when it’s replaced by a new battalion, Ynet reports, noting that the kidnapping of IDF soldiers that led to the Second Lebanon War and the recent killing of a Hamas terrorist along the Gaza border occurred during transition periods of this kind.
The Israeli soldier, suspicious, informed his superior officers.
But the Hamas operative appeared to do a competent job pretending to be an Israeli soldier, using military slang, writing in Hebrew and using an Israeli number.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said of this incident, “The IDF is aware of the enemy’s actions, monitors its efforts on social networks, and calls on soldiers and civilians to conduct themselves safely on the Internet and continue to act alertly and responsibly…
“These days marked the anniversary of Operation Broken Heart, in which the IDF exposed Hamas activity against social network employees. The operation contributed greatly to raising the awareness and alertness of the soldiers, a fact realized in this latest case.”
Operation Broken Heart was a campaign the IDF launched in July of last year to warn soldiers of efforts by Hamas to hack their phones and install spyware through two dating sites and a World Cup app. About 100 soldiers fell for the ploy, the Army said at the time.