A cyber attack disrupted access to the Ministry of Health website for foreign users, the ministry said on Sunday.

Although the facility is still open to Israelis, those trying to enter the country have not been able to do so regularly, the ministry said.

They said that the matter is concerned with the ministry and the government’s e-Government department which is responsible for maintaining government websites on the Internet.

The Ministry of Health website provides information in English on various topics including health regulations for visiting Israel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Iranian-backed terrorist group based in Iraq calling itself the Altahrea Team has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Hebrew reports.

On its Telegram channel, the group reportedly wrote that the attack was a result of the bombing of the Gaza Strip over the weekend and a list of other problems.

Illustration: A cyber security expert stands in front of a map of Iran as he talks to reporters about Iranian hacking methods, on September 20, 2017, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP/Kamran Jebreili)

The group’s grievances include sanctions on Iran, which it says is killing thousands of people by blocking the arrival of drugs and vaccines for COVID-19, and supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia.

“See you now,” the group wrote.

Israel struck the Gaza Strip twice over the weekend in response to rocket fire into Israeli enclaves from the Palestinians.

Last week, the Altahrea Team said it attacked the website of the city of Jerusalem on Thursday and that of the Rafael security company. It also said that on Monday it attacked the website of the Tel Aviv government.

Although the Ministry of Health did not provide details on how this happened, last week’s attack was a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) in which web servers were flooded with immediate requests to connect. This type of attack does not lead to data theft.

The Israel Internet Association stated that countering DDoS threats involves temporarily blocking server requests from abroad which is probably the reason why the Ministry of Health website was only accessible to users inside Israel.

In April, the Altahrea Group carried out a cyber attack that temporarily took down the Israel Airports Authority.

According to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the group has previously attacked sites in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Several suspected Iranian attacks on Israel have been reported in recent years, including one that targeted its water facilities in 2020.

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