Three al-Qaeda propaganda websites have closed down after reportedly coming under cyber-attack from Western intelligence agencies.
The al-Ekhlas, al-Buraq and al-Firdaws websites, all linked to al-Fajr the propaganda wing of al-Qaeda, have been out of action since September this year, but al-Fajr denied the sites had “fallen into the hands of the enemy”.
And you know, al-Fajr is always open and honest, especially with infidels.
The websites were due to broadcast videos celebrating the September 11 attacks, but have blamed technical problems for their silence, the Guardian reports.
The sites, which users access with a password, are closely monitored by intelligence agencies and academics studying al-Qaeda movements.
Suspicions of a deliberate campaign of disruption have been fuelled by the fact that a fourth website, al-Hesbah, continues to operate.
Several experts suggest al-Hesbah may be being used by Saudi intelligence to monitor and entrap jihadi militants.
The sites routinely post video clips of “martyrdom operations”, such as suicide bombings in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, plus statements purportedly from Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Joint Anglo-US cyber-attacks have been rumoured but neither government will confirm involvement. UK security officials have spoken of an “aggressive” new effort to counter al-Qaida internet propaganda.
William McCants, a consultant at West Point military academy, New York, who runs the Jihadica.com website said: “I think it’s probably being orchestrated by several governments and it would have to be on the black operations [illegal but deniable] side,” McCants said.
“Whoever is doing this knows what they are doing. They are being surgically precise.”
“I think the Americans are behind this,” said Egyptian security analyst Dia Rashwan. “I believe there has been a decision by the US to close down these internet forums as part of their strategy of defeating al-Qaida and to stop it getting attention in the Arab world.”