IDF kills Hamas no 2; how Aussie ‘Five Eyes’ spy facility is aiding Israel

Pine Gap provides geo-location intelligence for precision location of targets

An Israeli soldier inside an underground tunnel found underneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City | AP An Israeli soldier inside an underground tunnel found underneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City | AP

On Tuesday, Israeli forces, acting on actionable intelligence, took out Saleh Arouri, the founder of Hamas’ military wing and the deputy political head, in a big blow to the armed militant group.

A drone strike killed the 57-year-old Hamas leader along with two al Qassem Brigades commanders besides three others in a Hamas office located in a southern Beirut suburb. Arouri had been in Israeli crosshairs for a long time and was the top Hamas commander in the West Bank, who the US Department of the Treasury designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist offering $5 million for any information on him.

The IDF is well into its third phase of the conflict with Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip, in which “targeted raids” are a key component of the warfare as opposed to major combat operations.

Over the course of the conflict, Israel has successfully conducted several precision strike operations where targeted leaders have been killed and key facilities destroyed.

Helping Israel to zero in on the key targets is a key snooping facility just outside Alice Springs in Australia. Called the ‘Pine Gap’ facility, its mandate is to collect communications and electronic intelligence data from Ground Zero of the Israel-Gaza battlefield and interpret it before transmitting it to the IDF.

Besides widespread surveillance, Pine Gap also provides detailed geo-location intelligence to the US military which can be used to locate precision targets in the battlefield.

Jointly operated by the US and Australia, the sprawling Pine Gap facility is a very important node in the ‘Five Eyes’ global surveillance network with the main data collection being done by a constellation of about 40 satellites. 

Set up in 1941, ‘Five Eyes’ is an exclusive and secretive club of spy rings of five governments—Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and US—that collaborate to intercept information within other countries to be used for diplomatic, security, military and economic benefits and gains.

The present conflict began after a Hamas attack on October 7 killed 1,139 people while 250 were abducted. The dead included 695 Israeli civilians including 36 children, 373 security forces and 71 foreigners.

The Israeli counterattack, exhibiting no discrimination, till now has killed more than 22,000 Palestinians with at least 8,000 of them being children. 

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