A new Arab-Israeli front: Are Arabs trying to virtually wipe Israel off the net?

Published April 7th, 2013 - 16:00 GMT

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Holocaust Memorial Day
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Image 1 of 8: Anonymous hackers from around the world disrupted Israeli government and business websites in #OpIsrael. Provocatively pledging to “wipe Israel off the internet” on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, a number of hackers were arrested in the West Bank.

Anonymous Arab
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Image 1 of 8: Other than the fact that the video was completely racist, inflammatory and denied one of the greatest tragedies of human history, this was a solid effort for Anonymous Arab’s debut piece. Their message was pretty popular too, as the video clocked 100,000 hits in a few days.

Larger than Life
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Image 1 of 8: Anonymous’ weekend cyber attacks weren’t limited to Israel’s government ministries. Oh no, the cyber crusaders took the fight to the cancer suffering patients at children’s charity, Larger than Life, downing their website more than once.

Qasem Al Najjar
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Image 1 of 8: Palestinian crooner Qasem Al Najjar, whose hits include “Attack Attack Tel Aviv”, followed the cyber warfare trend setters by re-releasing the catchy, yet morally dubious hit, with new aggro 2.0 title “Hack Hack Tel Aviv”. We see what you did there Najjar, but it’s never going to get you on Arab Idol.

Hamas supporters
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Image 1 of 8: Hamas’ top government spokesman weighed in to support the Anonymous hackers cyber campaign against Israel on Sunday, “God bless the minds and the efforts of the soldiers of the electronic battle.”

Israel Palestine Anonymous
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Image 1 of 8: Anonymous have hijacked the Israel-Palestine narrative for their own ends, using their nifty fingertips to hack away at Israeli government sites as the army dropped bombs on Gaza in November 2012. It certainly raised the group’s profile, yet predictably had no effect on the IDF’s brutal bombardment.

Ox Omar
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Image 1 of 8: Ox Omar, believed to be a Saudi cyber warrior, riled Israeli consumers in 2012 when he published thousands of credit card numbers online. Cue countless sheepish Israelis having to cancel tickets for Justin Bieber’s debut Dubai show.

Hamza Bendelladj
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Image 1 of 8: Hackers are known to justify their actions on political/moral grounds but this crafty Algerian was pure greedy guts. Computer Science grad turned super hacker Hamza Bendelladj was arrested and handed over to the FBI in January 2013, who accused him of stealing millions of dollars from American banks to fund his own life of luxury.

Combining the cultural sensitivity of the FEMEN girls with a sinister nod to Iran's Israel-bashing President, Anonymous Arab hackers spent Sunday, the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, attempting to "wipe Israel off the internet" with #OpIsrael. 

Early Sunday, Israeli Cyber bureau spokesman Yitzhak Ben Yisrael said that #OpIsrael had failed, as only a handful of government sites were hacked for a brief period of time, but the attacks continued in to the afternoon.The #OpIsrael site itself was briefly hacked by Israeli retaliatory activists, who posted pro-Israeli history as well as the national anthem.

Anonymous' anti-Israeli stance is nothing new. The group launched a series of attacks on Israeli websites in November 2012, as the Israeli air force bombarded Gaza. On April 3 a video was published online by Anonymous Arab, in which a bloke in a Guy Fawkes mask appeared, denying the Holocaust and promoting Sunday's cyber attack.

With the military reality of the Middle East rendering armed conflict counterproductive, the new battlefront in the Israel-Arab conflict is in cyberspace. We take a look at the Arab cyber warriors.

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