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WASHINGTON -- An elite Israeli intelligence unit intercepted conversations among high ranking Syrian government officials discussing last week’s apparent chemical attack outside Damascus as it unfolded, a German news magazine has reported. Citing an anonymous Israeli ex-intelligence official, Germany’s Focus magazine said Saturday that Israel’s secretive signals intelligence agency, Unit 8200, eavesdropped on a conversation between senior Syrian officials about use of chemical agents. On Friday, Israel’s Channel 2 reported that rockets containing chemical agents were fired by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division, a division under the command of the Syrian president’s brother, Maher Assad. .
Unit 8200 is the largest unit in the Israel Defense Forces, comprising several thousand soldiers. It is comparable in its function to the United States' National Security Agency but is a Ministry of Defense, rather than civilian, body. It is led by a Brigadier-General whose identity remains classified. Subordinate to Unit 8200 is Unit Hatzav (Hebrew: יחידת חצב), responsible for collecting OSINT intelligence. The unit monitors and collects military intelligence-related information from television, radio, newspapers, and the internet. The translation of various items accounts for part of what is termed "basic intelligence," which is collected by the units. According to media reports, the unit provides over half of the overall intelligence information for the Israeli Intelligence Community. The IDF's most important signal intelligence-gathering installation is the Urim SIGINT Base, a part of Unit 8200. Urim is located in the Negev desert approximately 30 km from Beersheba. In March 2004, the Commission to investigate the intelligence network following the War in Iraq recommended turning the unit into a civilian National SIGINT Agency, as is in other Western countries, but this proposal was not implemented.
Originally posted by Thorneblood
Funny how the OP's report says specifically that it was Assad's brother, a guy reported to enjoy vengeance and who enjoys being hands on in getting it. The other link does not name any names. It is also interesting that he was hurt about a year ago and has lost his leg and the use of one of his arms. Maybe he felt he needed to get payback.