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Israel’s Justice Ministry reviewing ‘cyber incident’ after hacktivists’ claim breach

file photo: scenes of destruction in gaza amid the ongoing conflict between israel and hamas
FILE PHOTO: Palestinians walk past the ruins of houses destroyed during Israel's military offensive, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza City, March 20, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas/File Photo

Israel’s Justice Ministry said it was looking into a “cyber incident” on Friday after activist hackers protesting against the war in Gaza said they managed to breach the ministry’s servers and retrieve hundreds of gigabytes of data.

“Since the morning hours, experts at the ministry and elsewhere have been looking into the incident and its implications,” the ministry said on social media platform X.

“The scope of the materials is still under review and it will take time to examine the content and scope of the documents that were leaked and their sources.”

A group called Anonymous for Justice claimed responsibility for the breach, which it said included the retrieval of nearly 300 gigabytes of data. On its website, the group said it would continue attacking Israel “until the war in Gaza stops”.

The group published files that it said it obtained in the breach such as legal documents, including drafts of bilateral agreements and contracts marked as confidential.

Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the leaked documents.

The Justice Ministry said in its post that it had prepared in advance for such a scenario and that its operations remained uninterrupted.

The National Cyber Directorate said earlier this week it was expecting an increase in attempts at cyberattacks over the weekend for Iran’s annual Quds Day, which uses the Arabic name for Jerusalem, held on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

This year, the day was marked amid the Gaza onslaught that has caused a humanitarian catastrophe in the enclave and a surge in regional tensions.

In six months of bombardment in Gaza that Israel says is aimed at eliminating the Islamist group Hamas, Israeli forces have killed more than 33,000 Palestinians and wounded at least 75,000 others, health authorities in Gaza say.

The war began on Oct. 7 after a Hamas-led attack on southern Israel in which 1,200 people were killed and some 250 people seized as hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

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