The Israeli spyware program hacked into the email accounts of nine current and former Palestinian officials to infiltrate their government system and monitor communications, the Palestinian Embassy in Washington revealed on Sunday.
The embassy did not identify the current or former officials. But a Palestinian government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, confirmed that they included the Palestinian presidential and prime ministerial offices as well as several government ministries. According to reports, other targets included foreign and domestic activists as well as the foreign minister.
The cyber attack occurred in 2016.
In a statement, the embassy said that the attack “threatened essential systems of our government.” It did not say whether any of the officials were targeted by the Israeli intelligence agents, or if any had been harmed.
The cyber attack underscored the risks of dealing with international suppliers of computers, telecoms and other equipment in an atmosphere of increasing distrust and possible unrest in the Middle East. Already, Middle Eastern countries have had some technical challenges in their relationships with the United States, which has been highly critical of their treatment of protesters.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry did not comment Sunday.