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Screens at Beirut airport hacked with anti-Hezbollah message

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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08 Jan 2024 12:01:53 GMT9
08 Jan 2024 12:01:53 GMT9
  • Message appeared on electronic boards saying: ‘The airport is neither Hezbollah nor Iran’s airport’
  • A group opposing Hezbollah claimed responsibility

Najia Houssari

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.”

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