BBC News revealed new details about the scandal of the Israeli spying system “Pegasus”, noting that the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid, Sheikha Latifa, and his former wife, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, were among the targeted figures.
The news network said that it was found that the numbers of the two princesses, Haya and Latifa, and the numbers of some of their acquaintances, are on the list of targets.
Earlier this year, Sheikha Latifa revealed to the station that she had been kidnapped and imprisoned when she tried to escape from Dubai in 2018.
Princess Haya bint Al Hussein Al Sheikh and Sheikha Latifa
Meanwhile, Haya Bint Al Hussein accuses her ex-husband, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, of “kidnapping, torture and attempted intimidation,” according to what she told a British court.
The network indicated that the Paris-based non-governmental organization Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International had obtained a list of 50,000 phone numbers targeted by customers of the Israeli company, NSO, since 2016.
And 17 media outlets obtained the list revealed on Sunday, and indicated that the phones of human rights activists, journalists and lawyers around the world were targeted, and that the Israeli company’s customers are governments, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, and Bahrain, and among the targeted figures are heads of state, government and Arab royal figures.
Read also: Madawi Al-Rasheed reveals: That is why Saudi Arabia targeted me with Israeli spyware
The report noted that the presence of a person on the list does not mean that the program was used against him, but that he was a potential target.
Princess Haya escape
Haya fled with her child to Britain in 2019, and it is believed that her relationship with the Maktoum family deteriorated after she had doubts about the fate of his daughter Latifa, and his other daughter, Sheikha Shamsa.
He previously revealed that the list includes the numbers of two women close to the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in his country’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
And the French newspaper Le Monde had published a report about the exposure of the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron to a “possible” surveillance operation in favor of Morocco.
Morocco denied the use of Israeli technology, and revealed on Wednesday the possibility of moving judicially to confront the allegations.
The Moroccan government had confirmed in a brief statement that “Morocco, which is strong in its rights and convinced of the relevance of its position, has chosen to take the legal and judicial endeavor in Morocco and at the international level, to stand up to any party seeking to exploit these false allegations.”
The Moroccan Public Prosecution announced later on Wednesday that it had “opened a judicial investigation into these allegations.”
At the same time, the Israeli government formed a commission of inquiry to look into the accusations raised globally.
A source confirmed to Reuters that the committee is affiliated with the Israeli National Security Council, which reports directly to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
But another source denied the National Security Council’s connection to the investigation, pointing out that senior officials in the Defense Ministry are supervising the investigation.
NSO denies the violations attributed to it, according to the BBC, and says that “the program was designed to target criminals and terrorists.”
And she pointed out that “it is only provided to intelligence, military and law enforcement institutions in countries with good human rights records.”
How Spyware Works
Pegasus infects iPhones and Android devices to make it possible to receive messages, photos and emails, record calls, and operate microphones and cameras in an unobtrusive manner.
WhatsApp had filed a lawsuit against NSO in 2019, accusing the Israeli company of being behind cyber attacks on 1,400 mobile phones using the Pegasus program.
At the time, the Israeli company denied any violations, but was subject to a ban on using the WhatsApp platform.
Two weeks ago, the company issued its first “transparency report”, which detailed human rights policies and pledges.
The new allegations would further damage the Israeli company’s reputation, but it would not be financially damaged as a result.
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