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Mystery Israeli satellite telly disruption blamed on UN

Independence Day-style alien invasion plot discounted

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Mysterious high-powered transmissions have caused a month of severe interference with Israeli satellite television, threatening the commercial viability of the country's major sat-broadcaster.

The signals - source thus far unknown - are not thought to be connected to any Independence Day-style pre-invasion alien communications. Rather, it is thought there might be some connection with the Israelis' brief, secretive air raid against Syria on 6 September.

Full details of last month's bombing are unknown, including the nature of the target. However, many military observers were surprised by the ease with which Israel was able to penetrate Syria's Russian-supplied air defence network. The exact nature of the systems which Syria may have had in place is, again, unclear. However, it is widely accepted that Iran uses Syria as a supply line to its Hezbollah allies/clients in southern Lebanon, and that Iran and Syria often cooperate militarily - perhaps to the extent of sharing or supplying equipment.

Iran at least is known to have purchased the Russian TOR-M1 missile system, which is seen as a potent threat to non-stealthed aircraft flying at less than 20,000 feet. However, there would be very little to prevent Israeli F-15s and F-16s from conducting a bombing raid from higher altitudes than this.

Syria is known to have fielded higher-altitude missiles such as the SA-8, 6 and 2; but these are quite old technology, never terribly effective even in their day and unlikely to cope with modern attackers like the Israeli air force. Rumours have circulated in recent years that Iranian oil money might be about to purchase relatively formidable Russian S-300/SA-10 kit, but thus far there has been no confirmation of S-300s or the like in Iranian/Syrian hands.

It may be that the mystery tactic of the Israeli raid was nothing more than flying too high for modern TOR-M1 missiles - or going around them - and evading or spoofing any older high-altitude gear. Syrian fighter jets would struggle to intercept and engage a swift Israeli raid, and might regret doing so if they managed it.

On the other hand, rumours have lately emerged that modern Russian kit - presumably TOR-M1 radars - completely failed to even see any Israeli raiders, prompting testy Middle Eastern purchasers to question the value for money provided by Russian exports. A Kuwaiti paper has reported that Russian troubleshooters are scratching their heads over the Israeli attack. Well-informed Aviation Week reporter David Fulghum has speculated that fiendish new American electronic warfare technologies may have been employed, in which digital defence networks are effectively hacked by feeding tailored transmissions into their radar receivers, allowing an attacker to manipulate and falsify what the defender sees.

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