Photo Credit: Moshe Shai / Flash 90
Ben Gurion International Airport

Israel’s unexplained GPS disruptions in its airspace in the past weeks have been caused by Russia, IDF Radio reported Thursday.

The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) confirmed on Wednesday that pilots had been losing their Global Positioning System (GPS) signals mid-air near Ben-Gurion Airport and that the problem has been occurring for the last three weeks. The issue does not put landing planes at risk and the pilots are using other measures to land safely.

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The IAA assured that “at no stage has there been a safety incident stemming from the GPS disruption in the context of the precision of navigation and flight corridors.”

The airport in Larnaca, Cyprus, has reportedly been experiencing similar disturbances.

IDF Radio quoted “senior officials involved in the affair” who estimate that the reason for these disruptions is Russian activity, possibly even a hostile attack.

The report also revealed that as part of the attempts to resolve the issue, a senior Israeli defense official is currently in Europe where he met with American officials to discuss the issue.

Responding to the report, the IDF stated that the incident is “in the civilian sphere,” and the IDF is assisting it “with technological means, in order to allow freedom of action in the airspace of the State of Israel.”

“At this point in time, this incident does not affect the IDF’s activity. The IDF is constantly working to preserve the freedom of action and operational supremacy in the spectrum,” the army added.

Ynet quoted an unnamed Russian official who dismissed the report as “fake news.”

“We can’t respond to these reports seriously,” the official said.

TPS has learned from an Israeli official who has investigated the issue that no one in Israel really knows the sources of the disruptions, a source of real concern in its own right. He estimated that Russia is unlikely behind the problem, as dozens of planes flying from Russia land at Ben-Gurion Airport on a daily basis, and they would not want to endanger their own citizens.

 

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