The United States has launched a cyberattack on Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hezbollah militia in an attempt to cripple its communications and limit its military capabilities. Although the attack took place last Sunday, reports have only just emerged.
The group’s ability to control rocket fire was the target of the attack, the success of which is not clear, but there are reports from Iran that it did not succeed in halting communications. Kata’ib Hezbollah, which has forces in Iraq, Syria and Iran, has not commented on the attack.
The incident comes amid rising tensions in the Gulf region over the past few weeks due to multiple attacks on various oil tankers and installations in the Persian Gulf. The US and its allies have accused Iran of attacking the vessels, an allegation which Tehran has denied.
The controversy appears to resolve around the deal agreed in 2015 between Iran and various world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear development in return for the lifting of sanctions and provision of aid. Since US President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2017, the European Union (EU) along with other powers such as China and Russia have attempted to keep it intact. Earlier this month, however, Iran announced that it would be increasing its nuclear production in spite of the deal, throwing its viability into further doubt.
Tensions were exacerbated further when Iran shot down a US drone last week, claiming that it had entered its airspace. The Americans insisted that it was flying in international airspace. US President Donald Trump then imposed sanctions on the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other top officials on Monday, and threatened Iran with “obliteration” in a Twitter spat yesterday.