BY OLA AL-MADHOUN
June 17th, 2008
GAZA CITY, June 16, 2008 (MENASSAT) -- The Palestinian Islamist
movement, Islamic Jihad, has added a cyber-war division to its armed
It was a response to years of attacks by Israeli hackers, and according
to the Brigades spokesman, Abu Hamza, it equals the playing field in
"The Israeli's have worked very hard the past few years on monitoring
all the Palestinian websites, especially those of Islamic Jihad and
Al-Quds Brigades," Hamza told MENASSAT.
"They (Israeli hackers) hacked these websites and erased them from the
electronic boards or even added indecent pictures to them," he said.
Hamza told MENASSAT that the Brigades had to establish an e-media
military unit "because we had to fight the enemy in the electronic media
to resist being assaulted on two fronts . physically and virtually."
The e-media military unit told the London-based Arabic-language
newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat in March that it had hacked several Israeli
websites, uploading pictures on them of Al-Quds Brigades' martyrs and
songs associated with Islamic Jihad.
"We hacked the Yediot Ahronot and Maariv newspapers, and put pictures of
our martyrs like Hassan Shakoura on their sites," Hamza said.
Shakoura is said to have been the person in charge of the e-media
military unit in Gaza up until he and two of his colleagues were killed
on March 15 in northeast Gaza during a targeted Israeli missile strike.
The Brigades also claim to have hacked into some Israeli military sites
and at least one site administered by the Jewish settler movement, as
well as the Yisha news on Israel's channel 7 website, although MENASSAT
could not get confirmation of this.
The nuts and bolts activities of the group are less glamorous,
monitoring what the Israeli government and its supporters are doing to
counter the Palestinian resistance online.
Abu Hamza said that the e-media military unit doesn't just work on
breaking the security of the Israeli websites . both governmental and
civilian ., but it is also "expanding its cyber-reach to include
attempts at hacking and bugging the Israeli telecommunications network."
"So far, these attempts have not succeeded," he told MENASSAT.
Although MENASSAT was unable to get an Israeli reaction to these claims,
what is clear is that the e-media military unit has an expanding network
of programmers and IT volunteers willing to continue the work of men
When asked if the assassination of Shakoura had affected their work, Abu
Hamza told MENASSAT, "Shakoura had a major role to play in the
electronic media war. But we never count on one person in al-Quds
"We still have many great leaders in the technology field. Despite our
utter sorrow for the assassination of Shakoura, this couldn't stop our
work and determination in persecuting the enemy by hacking its positions
Among Israel's main security concerns with militants operating in the
Gaza Strip are the rocket attacks that target settler towns in southern
Israel, like Sderot and Ashkelon.
Abu Hamza said the experts in the unit had participated in these
attacks, helping to locate the targets on e-maps.
"When the militants fire missiles on Israeli targets, they do so in
collaboration with the experts of the unit who specify the military and
political positions in the settlements. They also use Google Earth,
which helps a lot," he told MENASSAT.
Yediot Ahronot denies that the Al-Quds Brigades. e-media military unit
blocked its website or posted pictures of their martyrs on its pages.
But Rony Shked, an Israeli journalist working with Yediot Ahronot, told
MENASSAT that the newspaper was subject to constant cyber-attacks, and
that despite the extreme security measures in place, Yediot's website,
ynetnews.net has been blocked in the past.
"We can't know whether Israeli hackers attacked Hamas' website or those
associated with Islamic Jihad, but I can say that many Israeli websites
have been attacked by Palestinian hackers," he said.
Yediot reporter Roee Nahmias wrote in a March article about Al-Quds
Brigades' claims to have a hacker division, "Any group pointing to a
unit dedicated to defacing websites does not necessarily indicate any
operational sophistication, since any teenager with basic programming
skills can do the same."
However, a Palestinian living in Israel did lead a cell of Arab hackers
from Lebanon and Saudi Arabia in targeting Israeli political websites,
the Likud party website among them, as well as sports sites. And before
his arrest in January, Israeli police said he successfully targeted
several financial institutions.
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