Hackers Interrupt Israeli Websites in Protest for Palestinians

Computer hackers briefly shut down several Israeli government websites today in a coordinated international assault protesting Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Government computer technicians took steps to protect the most important sites against the attacks that typically disable Internet service by flooding them with entry requests, the Finance Ministry said in an e-mailed statement. The Foreign Ministry website was crippled for several seconds, the statement said.

“The most important effect is the buzz around the attack, not any real damage caused,” said Gabi Weimann, a communications professor at Haifa University, whose website was also made inaccessible. “Everybody’s talking about it, but nothing critical was brought down.”

The attacks were carried out as a one-day operation by a loosely knit group of hackers around the world calling itself Operation Israel, according to its postings on Twitter. Some of the hackers posted messages on the sites such as “Free Palestine” and “End the Occupation,” the group said.

Israel established the National Cyber Directorate two years ago to protect vital computer systems from attack.

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