Official Hamas websites being hosted in the United States were shut down yesterday following inquiries by WorldNetDaily for an article about the terror group’s online activities in Western countries.
Hamas has been using the Internet – through service companies in the U.S., Eastern Europe and East Asia – to maintain communication with its own networks, talk to other terror organizations and spread anti-Israel and anti-American terrorist propaganda to large audiences, intelligence sources said.
A list of official Hamas sites, along with technical specifications, names of hosting companies and registration information was obtained by WorldNetDaily and used to call various American companies for comment, leading to a major clampdown on U.S.-hosted Hamas sites.
The website of the Islamic Bloc, Hamas’ student wing, www.alkotla.net, which was being hosted by Co-Location.com Inc. of Beverly Hills, Calif., was shut down yesterday upon inquiry. The site urged students to become “martyrs,” encouraged anti-Israeli terrorism and praised suicide bombers.
The site was rented by Co-Location to a secondary hosting company, Online Horizons, which leased the online space to a group called Al-Kutla al-Islamiyya. The Online Horizons agent who represented the transaction, Ahmed Muhammad, would not comment.
Robert Kiminecz, president of Co-Location, told WorldNetDaily: “Co-Location.com is the largest Level-3 USA and European wholesaler. We sell high-speed connectivity and datacenter space to Internet service providers. It was our customer, Online Horizons, that immediately took down their customer’s website at our request. Given the illegal aspects of the website, if our ISP customer would not have taken immediate action, we would have been forced to null-route their entire network.”
Also shut down upon WND inquiry is www.alresalah.org, a weekly online Arabic periodical published in Gaza on behalf of the Islamic Salvation Party, a branch of Hamas. The website, which was hosted by Rackspace.com of San Antonio, Texas, contained research articles and Hamas background information, and called for terrorism against Israelis. The site also targeted the “moderate leadership” of the Palestinian Authority.
Intelligence officials told WorldNetDaily the site was “an experimental Hamas publication.”
Annalie Drusch, director of corporate communications for Rackspace, told WorldNetDaily: “Our company alerted our customer and they made the decision to take down the site. We have 6,800 customers and host half a million domains. … Like others, we rely on good folks to find violations of acceptable-use policy.”
Hamas sites www.islamicblock.org and www.fm-m.com, which were previously hosted by ThePlanet.com of Dallas, Texas, but were moved to EveryOne’s Internet in Houston, were closed yesterday upon WND inquiry as well.
Islamic Bloc is Hamas’ student movement at Al-Najah University in Nablus. The site documented various Hamas student organizations, called for “armed struggle” against the “Zionist entity” and glorified suicide bombings.
Fm-m.com is the site for Filastin al-Muslimah, a monthly Hamas publication based in London that covers Hamas topics, features interviews with senior Hamas officials and praises suicide bombings.
A lawyer for ThePlanet.com told WorldNetDaily the company acted against the sites before they were moved to EveryOne.
The site www.aqsavoice.net, an online radio station associated with Hamas and subleased to a customer in Gaza through EveryOne, will be taken down within 72 hours. The station previously broadcast Hamas propaganda in Gaza on 106.7 FM, but was closed after an Israeli air force attack on the station’s offices. The site still has an active message board that intelligence officials told WorldNetDaily is used by Hamas.
Internet service providers often host hundreds of thousands of websites and are not aware of the content of every site, a representative for EveryOne said.
Although the closings marked a defeat for Hamas’ online activity in America, the group will likely find other online hosts and reopen the same sites within 60 days, an intelligence official said.
“The sites hosted by American companies are not the most crucial for Hamas. They are sure to keep top-tier sites in countries that Hamas feels are less vulnerable to American pressure. … The damage inflicted upon Hamas by the closing of the sites hosted in America is not extreme, but it will annoy them,” said the official.
Intelligence sources outlined 20 main websites in seven languages created and controlled by Hamas that have over the years been used to build an extensive Internet infrastructure to release Hamas news and information, discuss issues fundamental to the terror organization, and provide forums and methods of communication between Hamas cells in various parts of the Middle East and other terror networks.
Hamas gives various levels of priority to its websites and ensures those it considers most important are hosted by its first choice of Internet service providers in Eastern Europe, the sources said.
Indeed, those identified as Hamas’ primary group of websites, including the terror groups stated official website, Palestine Info, are serviced directly or through subcontractors by four companies in Russia and Ukraine.
Palestine Info, which recently communicated with WorldNetDaily and openly admits to being controlled by Hamas, features a Hamas news portal in Arabic and is supported by several secondary websites hosted in Malaysia and Ukraine that contain information on the Hamas movement and its history, official Hamas announcements, interviews with senior Hamas members, incitement against Israel and messages praising terrorism and suicide bombers.
Palestine Info maintains secondary sites in Arabic, French, Russian, Malay, Urdu, Farsi and English.
An e-mail recently sent to Palestine Info by WorldNetDaily inquiring about the site was returned by someone identifying himself as Omar.
“Sorry, we do not talk to American infidels,” wrote Omar.