Israeli websites, Facebook pages hit in ‘OpIsrael’ hacking attacks

JERUSALEM (JTA) — No Israeli government and defense sites appear to have been brought down by hackers in the "OpIsrael" attack, but some reportedly were affected for brief periods.

On Saturday, the international hacking group Anonymous claimed to have hacked some 19,000 Israeli Facebook accounts, and by the next morning some small Israel-based websites were shut down.

Haaretz reported that the Defense Ministry site was among the government sites affected. The Education Ministry and Israeli bank websites also were attacked, according to reports.

Anonymous had said last month that the attack operation against Israeli websites and Facebook pages would take place on April 7, on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. The group said it would "wipe Israel off the Internet," in protest against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

In a video message posted Saturday, Anonymous repeated its charges of mistreatment of the Palestinians by Israel and, directly addressing the Israeli government, said, “You have not stopped your endless human right violations. You have not stopped illegal settlements. You have not respected the ceasefire. You have shown that you do not respect international law.”

The video message adds, “that is why on April 7 elite cyber-squadrons from around the world have decided to unite in solidarity with the Palestinian people against Israel as one entity to disrupt and erase Israel from cyberspace.”

In a Twitter post, Anonymous Germany officially disassociated itself from OpIsrael.

An Israeli hacker named EhisR took over the website OpIsrael.com, removing anti-Israel content and posting something he called "A few forgotten facts," including "Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE, two thousand years before the rise of Islam," and "Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel."

Israeli websites and Internet infrastructure have come under attack several times in recent months by Anonymous and other anti-Israel hacking groups.

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