Israeli official confirms for the first time that Iran attempted to poison Israel civilians by raising chlorine levels in water supply.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
An Israeli security official publicly confirmed for the first time that Israel successfully thwarted an Iranian cyber attack on its water supply, though hackers from the Islamic Republic nearly succeeded in sickening hundreds of civilians, last Wednesday.
The deputy chief of IDF cyber Unit 8200, identified only as Colonel U, said a cyber security conference that an “adversary [Iran] attacked water facilities in Israel. We saw this attacker attempting to poison the water in an attempt to claim human lives. We mitigated that threat far in advance.
“Another adversary attacked Israel, and we also found that they were attempting to target U.S. power plants as well,” he said. “This was the first indication of this attack. It enabled preventing this threat through tight collaboration with our amazing American partners.”
According to a Financial Times report, the April 2020 attack has served as a major wake-up call for Israel that its civilian infrastructure is not off-limits in the ongoing shadow war between Jerusalem and Tehran.
The attack “was more sophisticated than they [Israel] initially thought,” the official told the Times. “It was close to [being] successful, and it’s not fully clear why it didn’t succeed.”
Iranian hackers had attempted to raise the levels of acceptable chlorine present in Israeli civilian water supplies to a dangerous level. If they had managed to do so, this could have poisoned or even killed hundreds of Israelis.
Alternatively, the high chlorine levels in the water may have triggered an automatic shutdown of the system, meaning that thousands of Israelis could have potentially been left without water during the scorching summer heat.
An Iranian official flatly denied the report in a statement to the times, saying that “Iran cannot politically afford to try to poison Israeli civilians,” adding that such a move would be met with severe retaliation from Israel.
“If Iran did [try to attack water supplies], where is the Israelis’ appropriate response?” he asked.