The IDF's prestigious 8200 intelligence-gathering unit in the center of Israel stopped working for 30 hours over the weekend after an army base was struck by lightning.
"It's hard to know whether the army's intelligence establishment suffered any damage," intelligence officers who are well familiar with the unit's missions told Ynet Monday evening.
Due to the electrical blackout that halted the operation of different systems, the elite unit's soldiers were sent home for a number of hours until the malfunction was repaired.
The highly skilled unit is involved in a variety of activities aimed at gathering information from different sources regarding the plans of various groups. The unit is also tasked with formulating an "intelligence map" on the activities of different organizations.
The soldiers who serve at the unit undergo special training in order to decode the messages through sophisticated methods.
The unit's work is normally performed 24 hours a day.
Intelligence officers explained to Ynet that a large amount of information is stored and used at a later date, due to the great amount of work and the inability to check every piece of information in real time.
"Sometimes there are situations where you return to collected information and check it in retrospect following a certain incident," one of the officers explained.
He added that the unit's work was likely not hindered and any delays in processing the information would be rectified.
Alternative system used
IDF sources said the fact soldiers were sent home does not indicate the intelligence establishment was harmed.
"There were systems that did not work, and therefore there was no need to keep the soldiers. But other systems continued to operate, and whoever had to stay, stayed," a source said.
IDF officials confirmed that the unit's operation was halted, but refused to talk about intelligence damages.
"In the discussed incident, a power system at the unit was damaged as a result of a lightening strike," a source at the IDF's Spokesperson's Office said.
"Following the incident, an alternative system was deployed and the unit's operations continued without any damages to intelligence-gathering" the source added.