Israeli court file reveals Hamas plot to disrupt communications during wartime

Israeli-Arab citizen Rani Aof, employed by cellular operator for nearly 20 years and two others face charges; Cellcom claims shocked, says no doubts or concerns had ever come up

Gilad Morag|
The Israeli District Court revealed on Sunday the charges against three Israelis from the Arab sector, were suspected of handing over sensitive information to the Hamas terror group, plotting to sabotage communication infrastructure during war time.
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  • The men indicted were Rani Aof, a software engineer for telecommunications giant Cellcom; Shadi A'idi who worked as an external advisor on issues of communication and computer networks; and Rani Aof's brother, Zohir Aof who met with a Hamas operative who lives in Turkey, and Lebanon and is involved in promoting activities against Israel.
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    הנאשמים בבית המשפט
    הנאשמים בבית המשפט
    Men suspected of cooperating with Hamas to disrupt communications in time of war
    (Photo: Gilad Morag)
    According to the indictment, Rani Aof, worked at Cellcom since 2004 as a software engineer, and as part of his role, had access to computer systems and information in the company.
    Aof supported Hamas' ideological goals and targets, and met with Hamas operatives in Turkey on several occasions between 2017 and 2022 to share sensitive information with them, which he was made privy to as part of his work at the company.
    After returning to Israel, he met with the second defendant, Shadi A'idi, in order to obtain information regarding the weak points of the communication systems, making it clear that the purpose of the information was to allow Hamas to disrupt Cellcom's operation during a war or military conflict.
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    משרדי סלקום
    משרדי סלקום
    Cellcom
    (Photo: Orel Cohen)
    The indictment also revealed that since 2015, the two defendants plotted how to disable or disrupting various of the company's systems.
    The revelation of the suspects identities, stunned their colleagues in Cellcom. "The employees are shocked, Rani had a lot of friends in Cellcom, and we never had any problems or doubts about him," Cellcom said.
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