Anonymous targets Israeli websites in response to Gaza conflict

Anonymous hack, Israeli website
A website said to be that of an Israeli military contractor displays messages from Anonymous hackers.Anonymous

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By Devin Coldewey

Hacker collective Anonymous has embarked on a campaign to harass and disable Israeli websites in response to the country's attacks on those tied to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. 

The attacks are not limited to government websites; dozens of ".il" and otherwise Israeli-associated sites can be seen to have been taken down or defaced.

The intentions of Anonymous were announced on the file-sharing site PasteBin, which allows anyone to place and access simple text documents. 

The document reads in part:

Anonymous does not support violence by the IDF or by Palestinian Resistance/Hamas. Our concern is for the children of Israel and Palestinian Territories and the rights of the people in Gaza to maintain open lines of communication with the outside world.

A number of Twitter handles claiming to represent various factions of Anonymous have listed sites that hackers have compromised or taken down. Several point to a list at this PasteBin document, which has at least 50 separate sites serving hacker messages from various groups.

Larger sites, such as Israeli government and military sites, are also being targeted, but with less success. Tel Aviv's official government site fails to load, for instance, while the Israeli president's site is still up, though slow to respond.

Anonymous outlets are also reporting news from the area, including the locations of bombings, and sharing instructions on how to get online if the Internet is disrupted by violence or technical problems.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.