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‘Hostile elements’ attempt to hijack Israeli passenger jet and divert flight path on its way back from Thailand


  • It sparked fears the fake air traffic controllers meant to sabotage the plane

Unidentified ‘hostile elements’ reportedly attempted to hijack the communications of a passenger jet flying into Israel from Thailand this past weekend – the second such attempt in the past week.

Israeli national airline El Al told local media that a flight from Phuket to Tel-Aviv’s Ben-Gurion international airport on Saturday came under threat when external actors tried to divert the aircraft from its destination. 

The pilots of El Al flight LY88, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, were told in a rogue radio message to divert from their set route on an alternative heading.

This sparked fears that the fake air traffic controllers meant to sabotage the plane or cause it to land in a dangerous location. 

The source of the communications breach was reportedly traced back to breakaway state Somaliland – though El Al did not specify whether they were able to pinpoint the group or actor responsible.

But pilots ignored the message and were able to reestablish communications with Israeli air traffic control which successfully guided the flight in safely. 

Israeli national airline El Al told local media that a flight from Phuket to Tel-Aviv's Ben-Gurion international airport on Saturday came under threat when external actors tried to divert the aircraft from its destination (FILE PHOTO: El Al Boeing 787s at Ben-Gurion airport)

Israeli national airline El Al told local media that a flight from Phuket to Tel-Aviv’s Ben-Gurion international airport on Saturday came under threat when external actors tried to divert the aircraft from its destination (FILE PHOTO: El Al Boeing 787s at Ben-Gurion airport)

El Al sought to assuage concerns, telling Israeli outlet Ynet: ‘The disruptions are not aimed at [El Al] planes and it is not a security incident — the disruption did not affect the continuation of the flight.’ 

But another outlet, KAN Reshet B, said that another flight from Thai capital Bangkok to Tel-Aviv suffered a similar cyberattack just days ago.

And the Jerusalem Post quoted one anonymous El Al employee as saying: ‘In Somalia, there have been communication interruptions all week, not only for El Al planes.

‘The official authorities have issued instructions to all pilots that as soon as this happens with a certain frequency, not to listen to the instructions and to switch to another communication method.

‘Our pilots are instructed on how to deal with this incident, such as the problematic frequency, and how to handle the flight professionally when it happens,’ the source said. 



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