The IDF revealed on Wednesday that the Military Intelligence Unit 8200 played a key role in thwarting a major ISIS terrorist attack this past summer, which aimed to down an Etihad Airways plane headed from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.
The soldiers of Unit 8200, along with the country’s intelligence community, provided the Australian authorities with the information that they gathered on the planned attack. The local security forces were able to arrest the terrorists, who were in the final stages of executing the attack.
"The foiling of the attack saved dozens of innocent lives and proved Unit 8200’s position as a major player in the intelligence fight against the Islamic State," the IDF said
The soldiers of the elite Unit 8200 intercept and collect digital communication and intelligence on Israel’s enemies. Spread across the country, they work around the clock to identify possible threats and effectively neutralize them.
"About half of Unit 8200 is engaged in operational activity beyond Israel’s borders," a senior officer in Unit 8200 told military reporters. "Because of our abilities, we are very attractive to foreign countries," he added.
Two separate attacks were reportedly planned in Australia. One of the attacks involved planting an improvised explosive device on an unwitting "mule" who would carry the device on board the plane where it would be detonated while in flight.
While Islamic State’s territorial "caliphate" may have crumbled, the IDF maintains that the threat posed by the terrorist group is still far from over, as terrorists have moved from Syria and Iraq to other places across the world, such as Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. This has led the IDF to increase the Unit's resources and continue monitoring the terrorist organization using various means.
The IDF also revealed that Unit 8200 and the military’s Defense Division of the Telecommunications Bureau recently thwarted an Iranian cyber-attack targeting private and public organizations in Israel. "This foiling was possible thanks to the close tracking of the Iranian network’s activities," an IDF officer said.