In a sensational development, French newspaper Le Monde has claimed that the United Kingdom's GCHQ intelligence agency spied on Israeli military, defence firms and diplomatic missions.
The French newspaper premised its report on leaked documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden.
“The Israelis constitute a true threat to regional security, in particular, because of the position of this country with respect to the Iranian dossier," a top secret file reportedly read, despite the UK's apparent support for Israel and the proximity between the two countries.
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The aforementioned document dates from 2009, when a Labour government under then Prime Minister Gordon Brown was at the helm of affairs.
An unnamed person termed the “second-highest ranking official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry”, Israeli ambassadors to Nigeria and Kenya, fiber optics firm Ophir Optronics which works with the Israel Defense Forces, and research departments at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Racah Institute of Physics were among those spied on.
The British intelligence and security organisation also intercepted phone calls of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and two of his children.
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A 2016 story by The Intercept and Der Spiegel had revealed that the GCHQ and the NSA cracked Israeli army encryption codes in the 1990s and spied on military communications for nearly two decades.
The United Kingdom and the United States used the information to gauge the possibility of a strike on Iran at a time when the country and Israel had their hands full with executing operations against one another.
This article originally appeared in The Independent.
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