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Propaganda sites of the Islamic state closed

The authorities removed the servers and websites used by Islamic State for the propaganda media in a coordinated international effort, said the European Union law enforcement agency, but if they remain disconnected for a long time it remains uncertain.

The compliance operation by the United States, Canada and six European countries, which took place on Wednesday but was announced on Friday, was the third time in so many years that the authorities have acted against Islamic State sites.

Each time they returned better fortified, but each demolition also provided valuable information, authorities said. And the effort could not stop the propaganda completely: the observers of the Islamic State reported that the main objective of the attack, the news agency of the extremist group Amaq, was still sending messages and videos through the encrypted Telegram messaging service.

The operation was coordinated from Europol headquarters in The Hague, The Netherlands. Director of Europol

Rob Wainwright

said the demolition, which included servers used by the terrorist group in the US The United States, Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands is greater than ever and will provide crucial evidence and intelligence on the operatives and supporters of the Islamic State in Europe and beyond. [19659003] "The amount of infrastructure we have eliminated is significant"

Mr. Wainwright

He said. "This is causing a huge blow to your online presence."

He said the operation was "technically very complex" and that it was based on the recent experience of the US law enforcement agencies. UU And Europe that toppled cybercrime networks and illegal online markets.

Europol said that the digital evidence related to the case was seized in France, Romania and Bulgaria. Researchers in the UK took the lead in tearing down the websites used by the terrorist organization.

Amaq, which was created in 2014 and became the terrorist group's main provider for its attacks claims, has been developing its own software and hosting infrastructure online since 2015, according to Interpol. As of December, it was available in at least nine different languages, not only on its website, but also through electronic bulletins and web browser extensions.

Amaq was the target of layoffs in 2016 and 2017. Those moves led the Islamic State to increase the resilience of its Internet infrastructure, but also allowed European researchers to identify radicalized people in more than 100 countries while tracking down the most active users, Europol said.

Since its inception, the Islamic State's focus on propaganda and online communication as a central part of its operations distinguishes it from other jihadist groups. Their videos have asked followers to carry out attacks, but they also served as an organizational proof of life, and a way to establish the reputation of the group as the preeminent jihadist group for observers abroad.

Since losing most of its physical territory in Syria and Iraq, the amount of Islamic State propaganda has been reduced, but it has maintained an online presence, documenting battles and seeking to recruit fighters.

While still able to operate on social media channels, attacks on its cyber infrastructure could damage its long-term capabilities, he said.

Charlie Winter,

Senior researcher at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence based in the United Kingdom.

"I hope it has caused strategic problems for IS, that it intends to heal its legacy at this time, but I do not." I know how much will change on a day-to-day basis. "

Mr. Winter

He said.

However, Amaq has also released a video on archive.org, a site that stores files of web pages, videos and images, instead of its usual channel, suggesting that Europol may have reached its archives.

If that's the case, "that's an impressive victory," Winter said.

In addition to targeting Amaq, coordinated actions also eliminated three other news outlets: Iraq-based Al-Bayan radio, whose online presence had been temporarily withdrawn before last year, as well as news from Halumu and Nashir, Europol said.

The loss of Islamic State territory in Syria will make it more difficult to regroup and restore its online presence, Wainwright said.

"The way" I have been squeezed both in terms of territorial presence and online that really unbalanced them, this is real progress, "he said.

Others say that the Islamic State remains a powerful ideological force Online and in some Muslim communities In January, a pro-Islamic technology group claimed to have distributed credentials for 4,590 social media accounts, along with 740 virtual phone numbers, to supporters of the Islamic State that month.


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