Exclusive: How Egypt Waged an EW Campaign against Israel

In early 2018, Egypt employed electronic countermeasures that jammed Israeli cellular communication networks in the Gaza Envelope area and the settlements close to the border. IsraelDefense sources reveal details of the operation as well as the extent of Israel’s response

The Israeli-Egyptian border (By Idobi - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19828500)

During February and March 2018, the Israeli settlements in the Gaza Envelope area and close to the Egyptian border suffered from nearly permanent jamming of the cellular communication networks. At first, the Israeli Government and the IDF avoided pointing the finger at Egypt as the cause of that jamming. However, as the local inhabitants’ protests intensified, Jerusalem was compelled to admit that the jamming had, indeed, originated in Egypt.

Now, as the source of that jamming has become known, IsraelDefense sources reveal the circumstances and what exactly happened back then. Apparently, Egypt had employed intentional jamming that impacted, among other things, the cellular communication networks in Israel, with the intention of preventing terrorists in Sinai from operating against the Egyptian Army. It is still unclear what terrorists use Israeli SIM cards in Sinai, but apparently, the power output of the networks in Israel enables such operators to use this mode of communication to coordinate their operations against the Egyptian Army in Sinai. 

“This is a highly irregular act between countries,” a source familiar with the matter told IsraelDefense under condition of anonymity. “In fact, the Egyptians preferred to operate within the spectrum instead of cooperating with Israel in an attempt to neutralize the problem,” said the source.

In view of that phenomenon, the Israeli authorities contacted Cairo, but the Egyptian authorities refused to acknowledge the fact that the measures being employed belonged to the Egyptian Army. Additionally, the Israeli authorities suggested to the Egyptians to have the power output of the cellular cells in the area reduced. The Egyptians refused and kept going until they completed their military operations. When these operations were completed, the jamming of Israeli communication networks stopped.

This was, without a doubt, a blunt move by the Egyptians, given the peace agreement between the two countries, which constitutes a serious breach of trust. In the months since then, things seem to have been patched up through diplomatic channels between the two countries.

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