Morocco: Hackers target Israeli websites to protest over Gaza

Rabat, 16 Jan. (AKI) – (By Hamza Boccolini) - A group of Moroccan computer hackers have united in an aggressive campaign of internet piracy in a bid to influence Israeli public opinion in relation to the country's three week military offensive in the Gaza Strip. The group, known as Marocco Snipers, includes dozens of technology experts from the North African country.

According to local media, these Moroccan hackers have entered at least 80 Israeli sites in the past few days, blocking their servers and changing their home pages.

There are many important sites that belong to the country's institutions and companies. Several of these sites have been destroyed, while others have only been modified.

In one incident, they published a series of photos that depict Gaza children who were injured in Israeli bomb attacks to show Israelis what was happening in the coastal territory and push them to intervene to stop the air raids.

The only limit on the activities on the Moroccan Internet pirates are local laws that provide for the punishment of technological pirates and threaten sanctions for anyone who is identified as a hacker.

However, the country's Ulema or Muslim scholars, who have called the Internet activity 'electronic jihad', have given their blessing saying it is legal on the basis of Sharia law.

Sheikh Bin Salim Bahsha, member of the Moroccan Ulema Council, said the hackers activities was " a real jihad" that had the organisation's blessing.

Another important Moroccan imam, Abu Zaid, also said the action was justified.

"It is true there are laws that ban hacking and prohibit attacks on Internet sites, but they find themselves in a war situation against Israel and it's the right of Muslims to use every means, legal or illegal, to respond to the enemy," he said.

Communications expert, Yahya al-Yahawi, fears that the Moroccan Snipers may be identified and arrested by police once there is an end to the Gaza conflict.

"Their attacks can potentially strike sites that are also considered sensitive for security and the national economy," he said.

"If they were identified and sent for justice, in the absence of a specific hacking law, they risk five years in prison based on article 124 of the penal code."

Morocco's King Mohammed VI said on Thursday he would not attend Arab summits on Israel's offensive in Gaza because they would not do much to help the Palestinian people.

However since the Israeli military offensive began on 27 December, Moroccans have staged several demonstrations and raised funds for Palestinians affected by military attacks.


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