Screens at Beirut airport hacked with anti-Hezbollah message

Update Information screens at Beirut’s main airport were hacked on Sunday with a message to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. (Screenshots/X)
Information screens at Beirut’s main airport were hacked on Sunday with a message to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. (Screenshots/X)
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Updated 07 January 2024
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Screens at Beirut airport hacked with anti-Hezbollah message

Screens at Beirut airport hacked with anti-Hezbollah message
  • Message appeared on electronic boards saying: ‘The airport is neither Hezbollah nor Iran’s airport’
  • A group opposing Hezbollah claimed responsibility

BEIRUT: Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut was subjected to an electronic hacking operation shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday.

This led to temporary confusion, but the airport continued to operate as usual, and its scheduled flights for Sunday night remained on schedule.

Text appeared without warning on the departure and arrival screens at the airport directed to Hezbollah and its security chief, Hassan Nasrallah, replacing the landing and departure timetables.

At the same time, the baggage system suffered a technical malfunction.

The text was signed by “Lord and the People,” and said: “This is Rafik Hariri Airport, not Hezbollah and Iran Airport. To Hassan Nasrallah, you will not find a helper if Lebanon is afflicted in a war and you bear responsibility for it and its consequences.”

The text also stated: “We will not fight on behalf of anyone. You blew up our port and now you want to blow up our airport because of the introduction of weapons. Let the airport be freed from the grip of the state.”

Lebanese citizens received text messages at the time of the hack on their mobile phones asking, on behalf of the Middle East Airlines MEA, “to adhere to the instructions of the security services.”

According to a security source, the airport administration quickly “turned off the screens on the airport campus after the hacking operation. It proceeded to transfer the bags manually until the technical fault was repaired.”

A source at MEA said: “The company did not issue any statement, especially after the display screens at the airport were disabled. Note that the company notifies its passengers via email or SMS if any emergency occurs, but it did not send a message in this regard.”

The source confirmed: “The flights are continuing to operate despite what happened today, and the malfunctions that occurred are being addressed.”

Since the outbreak of hostilities on the southern Lebanese front between Hezbollah and the Israel Defense Forces, Rafik Hariri International Airport has suffered interference to its air and sea navigation systems, but a security source told Arab News two weeks ago that the airport “has alternative systems through which it can monitor work without being affected by the Israeli interference.”

On Sunday, the border area suffered artillery shelling, phosphorus bombs, and Israeli air strikes that targeted homes and villages.

In return, Hezbollah targeted Israeli military sites with missiles, some of which were Burkan-type.

Hezbollah announced that it targeted “a gathering of Israeli soldiers in the south of Al-Manara, the radar site in the occupied Lebanese Shebaa Farms, a positioning point for soldiers in Al-Malikiyah, and positions of soldiers in the vicinity of the Metulla military site.”

It added that it “also targeted the Shomera barracks … Al-Marj military site, and gatherings of soldiers in the vicinity of the Mitat site.”

An Israeli tank was targeted at the Ruwaisat Al-Assi site with Kornet missiles, “which led to it being hit, burned, and destroyed, and its crew being killed and wounded,” according to a party statement.

Israeli media reported that “rockets landed near … Al-Manara settlement in the Galilee Finger, and a building in the Metulla settlement was hit by a missile launched from southern Lebanon.”


Fighting in Gaza’s Rafah as tensions soar on Israel-Lebanon border

Fighting in Gaza’s Rafah as tensions soar on Israel-Lebanon border
Updated 59 min 24 sec ago
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Fighting in Gaza’s Rafah as tensions soar on Israel-Lebanon border

Fighting in Gaza’s Rafah as tensions soar on Israel-Lebanon border
  • More than eight months of war have led to dire humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian territory
  • Israeli army earlier announced that its plans for an offensive in Lebanon had been approved
GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories: Israeli air strikes and clashes between troops and Palestinian militants rocked Gaza on Wednesday, as Israel’s army warned it had readied an “offensive” against the Lebanese Hezbollah movement on the country’s northern front.
Witnesses and the civil defense agency in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip reported Israeli bombardment in western Rafah, where medics said drone strikes and shelling killed at least seven people.
The Israeli military has announced a daily humanitarian “pause” in fighting on a key road in eastern Rafah, but a UN spokesman said days later that “this has yet to translate into more aid reaching people in need.”
More than eight months of war, sparked by Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel, have led to dire humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian territory and repeated UN warnings of famine.
The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been shut since Israeli troops seized its Palestinian side in early May, while nearby Kerem Shalom on the Israeli border “is operating with limited functionality, including because of fighting in the area,” said UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq.
He told reporters that in recent weeks, there had been “an improvement” in aid reaching northern Gaza “but a drastic deterioration in the south.”
“Basic commodities are available in markets in southern and central Gaza. But... it’s unaffordable for many people.”
The war has sent tensions soaring across the region, with violence involving Iran-backed Hamas allies.
The Israeli military, which has traded near-daily cross-border fire with Lebanon’s Hezbollah since October, said late Tuesday that “operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon were approved and validated.”
On Wednesday the military said its warplanes had struck Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon overnight, while reporting a drone had infiltrated near the border town of Metula in an attack claimed by Hezbollah and targeting troops.
The Iran-backed group also announced the death of two of its fighters.
Lebanon’s official National News agency reported Israeli strikes on several areas in south Lebanon on Wednesday morning, including on the border village of Khiam, where an AFP photographer saw a large cloud of smoke.
The army’s announcement that its plans for an offensive in Lebanon had been approved, along with a warning from Foreign Minister Israel Katz of Hezbollah’s destruction in a “total war,” came as US envoy Amos Hochstein visited the region to push for de-escalation.
Syrian state media said an Israeli strike on military sites in the country’s south killed an army officer on Wednesday. Israel has not commented on the report.
In Gaza, Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian armed group that has fought alongside Hamas, said its militants were battling troops amid Israeli shelling of western Rafah.
Witnesses reported seeing Israeli military vehicles enter the city’s Saudi neighborhood, followed by nighttime gunbattles.
Parts of central Gaza also saw fighting overnight, with witnesses reporting artillery shelling and heavy gunfire in Gaza City’s Zeitun neighborhood.
The October 7 attack that triggered the war resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.
The militants also seized 251 hostages. Of these, 116 remain in Gaza, although the army says 41 are dead.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,396 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the territory’s health ministry.
At least 24 people died over the past day, the ministry said.
A UN report issued Wednesday detailed six “indiscriminate and disproportionate” Israeli strikes that killed at least 218 people in the first two months of the war.
It said the strikes involved “the suspected use” of heavy bombs — a shipment of which the United States had paused in May over concerns Israel might use them in its Rafah assault.
The strikes targeted “densely populated” areas including refugee camps, a school and market, the UN rights office said, making the use of heavy bombs “highly likely to amount to a prohibited indiscriminate attack.”
UN human rights chief Volker Turk said: “The requirement to select means and methods of warfare that avoid, or at the very least minimize to every extent, civilian harm appears to have been consistently violated in Israel’s bombing campaign.”
More than six months since the attacks featured in the report, “there is no clarity as to what happened or steps toward accountability,” Turk said.

Israeli strike on Syria kills army officer: state media

Israeli strike on Syria kills army officer: state media
Updated 19 June 2024
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Israeli strike on Syria kills army officer: state media

Israeli strike on Syria kills army officer: state media
  • News agency: Israel carried out aggression using drones against two military positions in the provinces of Quneitra and Daraa

DAMASCUS: A Syrian army officer was killed Wednesday in an Israeli air strike in the country’s south, the official SANA news agency reported, citing a military source.
“The Israeli enemy carried out an aggression using drones against two military positions of our armed forces in the provinces of Quneitra and Daraa,” the agency said, adding the attack resulted in the death of the officer and material damage.


No future US government can prevent Iran oil exports, minister says

No future US government can prevent Iran oil exports, minister says
Updated 19 June 2024
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No future US government can prevent Iran oil exports, minister says

No future US government can prevent Iran oil exports, minister says
  • In 2018, then-President Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran and re-imposed sanctions which hurt Iran’s oil sector
  • US President Joe Biden took office in 2021 and since then Iran has managed to raise output to 3.5 million bpd while tripling exports

DUBAI: Iranian oil exports will continue regardless of who is elected as the next US president, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji said on Wednesday, amid concerns that a Donald Trump presidency could curb Iranian crude sales.
“Whatever government comes to power in the United States will not be able to prevent Iranian oil exports,” Owji said in comments quoted by Iran’s official news agency IRNA.
In 2018, then-President Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran and re-imposed sanctions which hurt Iran’s oil sector, with production dropping to 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd).
US President Joe Biden took office in 2021 and since then Iran has managed to raise output to 3.5 million bpd while tripling exports, according to Owji.
Iran has expanded oil trade with China.
Iran will elect a new president on June 28 following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in May.
The US presidential election is scheduled for November 5.


Israeli use of heavy bombs raise ‘serious concerns’ under laws of war: UN

Israeli use of heavy bombs raise ‘serious concerns’ under laws of war: UN
Updated 19 June 2024
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Israeli use of heavy bombs raise ‘serious concerns’ under laws of war: UN

Israeli use of heavy bombs raise ‘serious concerns’ under laws of war: UN
  • Israel’s air and ground offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory

GENEVA:  Israel’s repeated use of heavy bombs in the densely-populated Gaza Strip indicates repeated violations of the laws of war, the UN said Wednesday, highlighting six attacks that killed at least 218 people.
In a fresh report, the United Nations rights office provided details on the six attacks, which it said were emblematic of a concerning pattern, involving the suspected use of up to 2,000-pound bombs on residential buildings, a school, refugee camps and a market.
The rights office said it had verified 218 deaths in those attacks, which were carried out in the early months of the war that erupted in Gaza on October 7, but said it had information indicating the number of fatalities “could be much higher.”
“The requirement to select means and methods of warfare that avoid or at the very least minimize to every extent civilian harm appears to have been consistently violated in Israel’s bombing campaign,” UN rights chief Volker Turk said in a statement.
The report concludes that the series of Israeli strikes, exemplified by the six attacks carried out between October 9 and December 2, suggested that Israel’s military had “repeatedly violated fundamental principles of the laws of war,” the statement said.
Among the attacks listed were the strikes on Ash Shujaiyeh neighborhood, in Gaza City on December 2 last year.
It caused destruction across an approximate diagonal span of 130 meters, destroying 15 buildings and damaging at least 14 others, it said.
The extent of the damage and the craters visible and seen on satellite imagery indicated that around nine 2,000-pound GBU-31 bombs were used, it said, adding that it had received information that at least 60 people were killed.
GBU-31s, along with 1,000-pound GBU-32s and 250-pound GBU-39s “are mostly used to penetrate through several floors of concrete and can completely collapse tall structures,” UN rights office spokesman Jeremy Laurence told reporters.
Gaza’s deadliest war was sparked by Hamas’s unprecedented attack inside Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.
The militants also seized 251 hostages. Of these, 116 remain in Gaza, although the army says 41 are dead.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,372 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the territory’s health ministry.


Ship attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in fatal assault sinks in Red Sea in second-such sinking

Ship attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in fatal assault sinks in Red Sea in second-such sinking
Updated 19 June 2024
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Ship attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in fatal assault sinks in Red Sea in second-such sinking

Ship attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in fatal assault sinks in Red Sea in second-such sinking
  • The Tutor came under attack about a week ago by a bomb-carrying Houthi drone boat in the Red Sea

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: A bulk carrier sank days after an attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels believed to have killed one mariner on board, authorities said early Wednesday, the second-such ship to be sunk in the rebel campaign.
The sinking of the Tutor in the Red Sea marks what appears to be a new escalation by the Iranian-backed Houthis in their campaign targeting shipping through the vital maritime corridor over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.
The attack comes despite a monthslong US-led campaign in the region that has seen the Navy face its most-intense maritime fighting since World War II, with near-daily attacks targeting commercial vessels and warship.
The Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned-and-operated Tutor sank in the Red Sea, the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center said in a warning to sailors in the region.
“Military authorities report maritime debris and oil sighted in the last reported location,” the UKMTO said. “The vessel is believed to have sunk.”
The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge the sinking. The US military as well did not immediately acknowledge the sinking and did not respond to requests for comment.
The Tutor came under attack about a week ago by a bomb-carrying Houthi drone boat in the Red Sea. John Kirby, a White House national security spokesman, said Monday that the attack killed “a crew member who hailed from the Philippines.” The Philippines has yet to acknowledge the death, but the man who had been aboard the Tutor has been missing for over a week in the Red Sea, which faces intense summertime heat.
The use of a boat loaded with explosives raised the specter of 2000’s USS Cole attack, a suicide assault by Al-Qaeda on the warship when it was at port in Aden, killing 17 on board. The Cole is now part of a US Navy operation led by the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea to try and halt the Houthi attacks, though the rebels continue their assaults.
The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, killing four sailors. They’ve seized one vessel and sunk two since November, according to the US Maritime Administration. A US-led airstrike campaign has targeted the Houthis since January, with a series of strikes May 30 killing at least 16 people and wounding 42 others, the rebels say.
In March, the Belize-flagged Rubymar carried a load of fertilizer sank in the Red Sea after taking on water for days following a rebel attack.
The Houthis have maintained their attacks target ships linked to Israel, the US or the UK However, many of the ships they’ve attacked have little or no connection to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
The war in Gaza has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians there, while hundreds of others have been killed in Israeli operations in the West Bank. It began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage.
A recent report by the US Defense Intelligence Agency acknowledged container shipping through Red Sea has declined by 90 percent since December over the attacks. As much as 15 percent of the world’s maritime traffic flows through that corridor.