Egypt Independent

Egypt army disrupting Israeli cellular networks used by IS inside Sinai: Former 777 unit commander

Israeli officials have voiced complaints in the media recently that southern Israel is suffering from cellular blackouts due to the ongoing jamming from the Egyptian Armed Forces that are engaging in ongoing military operations against militants affiliated to the Islamic State group located inside North Sinai.

The Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post said in a Wednesday report that the Israeli Defense Forces confirmed Egypt as the source of the disruption that has lasted for some two weeks and is still ongoing.

The newspaper quoted the IDF spokesperson’s unit who asserted that the army is dealing with the issue with their Egyptian counterparts, noting that there is a ‘dialogue’ with the Egyptian defense establishment on the issue.

Moreover, the newspaper quoted an IDF spokesperson anonymously who explained that the disruptions caused by the Egyptians “is happening on Egyptian soil that Israel is not ‘surprised’ by the presence of the electronic warfare component of the ‘large-scale operation in Sinai.”

Among the Israeli officials who echoed complaints over the cell phone disruption caused in southern Israel was the Israeli Communication Minister Ayoub Kara who said in an interview with the Israeli’s Army Radio that during the past few days Israel has engaged in discussions to find ways to solve the issue.

“Egypt is conducting jamming operations against any networks that are being used by IS militants, now the IS militants are heavily depending on Israeli cell phone networks after the Egyptian Armed Forces managed to destroy two media centers used by them,” the former head of Egypt’s special army 777 Unit Hatem Saber told Egypt Independent on Thursday.

He further noted that during the destruction of the two media centers used by IS, the armed forces found a wireless recall station that was used by IS to facilitate wireless communication in Sinai due to the presence of high rise mountains that stand as an obstacle to wireless communication.

“When the IS ‘wireless recall station’ was seized by Armed Forces, IS militants started to depend on Israeli phone networks to facilitate communication — therefore the Egyptian Armed Forces are targeting these networks and any other ones used by IS through jamming operations,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, a report released by Israel’s Channel 10 quoted security officials as saying that the Egyptians have promised to resolve the issue within 24 hours.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Eshkol Regional Council in the south of Israel has threatened to sue the cellular networks as the jamming is still on the side for a second week.

A letter of warning to the cellphone networks from the legal office of the Eshkol Regional Council was written on behalf of the residents of the area.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Army did not release any official response or clarification to the reports of disruption in phone cells due to jamming out from the Egyptian Armed Forces that are conducting intensive military operations against members of the IS affiliated group of Sinai Province inside Sinai.

On February 9, the Egyptian Armed Forces launched a wide-scale army operation to eliminate IS militants. The operations have been ongoing in different parts of Egypt but are mainly focused in North Sinai.

The Egyptian Armed Forces have released 14 statements on the ongoing military operations.