The IDF's Pillar of Cloud operation in Gaza has led to mixed responses across the Internet. Alongside messages of support, it is also on the receiving end of harsh international criticism. Some responses have not been limited to criticism. Members of the hacker collective Anonymous, who have previously attacked Israeli websites, are continuing with what they dub OpIsrael#, in which they claim to have attacked hundreds of Israeli websites in recent days.
On Thursday, Anonymous reported that it took down close to 40 Israeli government and security establishment websites, although the single website that they presented as having been attacked belonged to a security and cleaning services company. The report came after Likud MK Danny Danon announced earlier in the week that his website had been taken down by a group calling itself TeaM KuWaiT HaCkErS. Danon's website had been hosting an online petition calling for the Israeli government to cut off the electricity it supplies to Gaza.
"My website has been hacked into at this moment by hackers operating in support of Hamas," Danon wrote. "If extremist hackers are breaking into my website because of the petition, it appears that we are doing something right."
As of yesterday morning, music uploaded by hackers was still playing on Danon's website, as well as photographs of assassinated Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari, Palestinian rockets, and a doctored photo from 2008 depicting the successful launch of four Iranian Shihab rockets. In the real Iranian exercise, one of the missiles actually failed to launch.
Anyone who enters Danon's website will also find Arabic writing and broken English saying "to withdraw forever, to give up forever. The assassination of our won't just strengthen our forces. Soon all of you will kill all of you, since they Trahlo [sic] our land. It begins!!"
On Friday evening, Anonymous hackers announced that they had attacked and taken off-line 550 different websites, including that of Israel's Foreign Ministry and the website of the Israeli political party Kadima. The hackers also wrote that they had erased the Foreign Ministry website's database. However, the website in question belongs to the Foreign Ministry's Mashav department, whose full name is the Agency for International Development Cooperation and whose role is to coordinate Israeli aid missions to developing countries in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.
Hackers also announced that they had broken into the website of the Bank of Jerusalem and erased its database. As of Saturday morning, it appeared that the bank's website was working. However, Kadima's website is still down. In addition, the website of a lab at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, a website belonging to an Israeli Arab-owned building and repairs company, a go-karting website operating out of Israel's North, and others were destroyed.
"For far too long, Anonymous has stood by with the rest of the world and watched in despair the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of the Palestinian people in the so called 'Occupied Territories' by the Israel Defense Force," Anonymous said in a press release.
The statement continued, "But when the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand. As the former dictator of Egypt Mubarack [sic] learned the hard way - we are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch. To the IDF and government of Israel we issue you this warning only once..."
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