Hacktivists with the Anonymous hacking collective have announced plans to launch widespread DDoS strikes against the Israeli military to protest the ongoing detention of Mohammed Al-Qeeq, a Palestinian journalist who has been on hunger strike since November 2015.
Al-Qeeq is a reporter for a Saudi news outlet and was arrested at his Ramallah home on 21 November by Israeli police amid claims was linked to Hamas. According to the Independent, he has been in ‘administrative detention’ ever since, which is permitted under Israeli law to detain someone without referring to a judge on the basis they are a threat to the national security. In the week after his detention he went on hunger strike and after roughly 80 days had lost most of his sight, voice and hearing abilities.
“We are calling on all citizens of the world to join us in this fight to free an illegally detained man. We are organising many ongoing operations in relation to this issue,” said the hacktivists in a statement posted to PasteBin, who have branded the so-called ’emergency operation’ as #OpAlQeeq, #OpSaveGaza and #FreeAlQeeq.
The statement requested those taking part in the operation to carry out a range of tasks including calling local Israeli embassys, taking to the streets in protest and raising awareness on social media. However, the note also called for major hacking activity against ‘Israeli military forces’ and posted a slew of IP addresses relating to a range of websites including the defence ministry and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
“Since it was the Israeli military forces that arrested and detained Mohammed Al Qeeq, then Israel military forces, his blood is on your hands,” the statement said. “We are calling on all ‘anons’ and hacktivists across the world to focus fire on Israeli military forces. Included [are] all websites associated with the Israeli military. Dump them, load them with viruses, DDoS them, break them, whatever you can do or see fit. Security analysis is already underway on all targets. Targets are listed by priority level. If this man dies in the custody of the Israeli military, Israel you can expect hell.”
Anonymous has a long history with hacking Israeli targets. Last year, in a video posted online, the group vowed an ‘electronic holocaust’ against the nation in apparent statement in support of Palestine. “As we did many times, we will take down your servers, government websites, Israeli military websites, and Israeli institutions,” said a masked anonymous individual. “We will erase you from cyberspace in our electronic holocaust.”
Meanwhile, in a separate attack in 2012, hackers attacks and shut down a number of websites including the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange after they were threatened by a Saudi hacker. A spokeswoman for the stock exchange confirmed at the time that the site had come under attack, but claimed that trading systems were not affected.
Even most recently, following the hack at the Department of Justice that resulted in the loss of thousands of federal credentials, the hacker using the @DotGovs twitter profile who was thought to be behind the incident frequently signed off with the now-familiar phrase: #FreePalestine.