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Hackers interrupt Eurovision broadcast with fake missile warning from Israeli military

A two-minute video, played only in Israel and bearing an IDF logo, interrupted the competition broadcast to warn viewers close to the contest venue in Tel Aviv to seek immediate shelter.

Miki from Spain performs during a rehearsal ahead of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv on May 13, 2019. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.
Miki from Spain performs during a rehearsal ahead of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv on May 13, 2019. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.

Hackers interrupted the Eurovision Song Contest broadcast on the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) website Tuesday, streaming a fake Israel Defense Forces’ video message warning all viewers near the contest venue to immediately seek shelter.

The two-minute video was only played in Israel. It appeared as an IDF message telling anyone within 1.2 kilometers (0.7 miles) of the contest venue in northern Tel Aviv to seek immediate shelter due to the threat of rocket attack.

Kan issued a statement saying that it believes the video’s reach was limited, and that “the [European Broadcast Union] and Kan view cybersecurity as being of the utmost importance, and the matter is being investigated.”

Though pro-Palestinian activists have attempted to make the Palestinian cause the focus of the competition, small protests, limited marches and pressure by BDS operatives do not seem to have significantly affected  the competition.

Pop icon Madonna, who was pressured by BDS’ers to cancel her anticipated performance, arrived in Israel early on Wednesday after publicly stating that she would not give in to the pressure. Moreover, not a single contestant appears to have withdrawn from the competition as a result of efforts by the BDS movement.

IDF sources have reported being ordered to limit live fire near the Gaza Strip, despite ongoing rioting on the border, in an effort to maintain calm during Eurovision.

In addition, Israel has removed restrictions on a 12-mile fishing zone off the Gaza coast, and has kept border crossings between Israel and Gaza open.

Between May 4 and May 5, Palestinian terrorist groups fired nearly 700 rockets and missiles at Israel, killing four and sending dozens to the hospital. 

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