Report: British intelligence spied on Israeli diplomats, military


(JTA) – British intelligence spied on Israeli diplomats, defense firms and the military, the French daily Le Monde reported.

The report Wednesday was based on leaked documents that came into the possession of Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who worked for U.S. intelligence before sharing classified material with journalists in 2013 and fleeing to Russia, according to Le Monde.

According to the newspaper, Britain’s GCHQ intelligence service collected information on a person described by Le Monde as the second highest ranking official in the Israeli foreign ministry. That person was not named. The British also spied on the Palestinian Authority, the report said.

Email correspondence belonging to the Israeli ambassadors to Nigeria and Kenya was also the subject of British intelligence-gathering efforts, as was Ophir Optronics, a firm that specializes in fiber optics.

The Le Monde report followed a previous one, also based on Snowden documents, that concerned spying by U.S. and British intelligence on Israeli military aircraft.

GCHQ and its American counterpart, the NSA, had collected for 18 years drone transmissions after cracking the Israeli army’s encryption for communication among fighter jets, drones and army bases.

The information was reported in January by The Intercept and the German newspaper Der Spiegel.

Britain and the United States reportedly have used this access to monitor Israel Defense Forces operations in the Gaza Strip, watch for a potential strike on Iran and keep tabs on the drone technology that Israel exports.

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