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Netanyahu says Israel ready to thwart election cyber meddling

By AFP - Jan 09,2019 - Last updated at Jan 09,2019

This frame grab taken off a video released by Likud shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivering a statement live at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem on Monday (AFP photo)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that his country led the world in cyber defence, after a report that an unnamed nation planned to meddle in its upcoming general election.

‘‘Israel is prepared to thwart a cyber intervention, we’re prepared for any scenario and there’s no country more prepared than we are,’’ he told reporters.

On Tuesday, privately-owned Hadashot television news reported that the head of the Shin Bet internal security agency had said that Israel was bracing for a state driven cyber intervention in the April 9 poll.

‘‘A foreign state is planning on intervening in the upcoming elections in Israel, and it will intervene,’’ Nadav Argaman was quoted as telling participants of a closed meeting. 

‘‘I don’t know at this stage in favour of who or against who,’’ he reportedly said in Hebrew.

Shin Bet later issued a statement saying that Israel ‘‘has the tools to locate, monitor and thwart attempts of foreign influence, if there should be any’ֹ’.

“The Israeli security establishment can enable holding democratic and free elections in Israel,” it said in a statement late Tuesday.

Russia denied social media speculation it was the state planning to disrupt the Israeli vote.

‘‘Russia has never interfered in elections in any country and has no plans to do it in the future,’’ presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in comments relayed by the Russian embassy in Israel.

Moscow has been accused of seeking to influence various elections around Europe — and the US presidential poll in 2016 — through disinformation campaigns. 

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