website was downed by a hacking process likely by suspected Israeli entities for three hours Thursday, March 25.
The website went off line on 03:50 pm GMT, and the users could not have access until 06:30.

The attacks had started as of Monday, March 22, the day when the Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed was assassinated by Israeli occupation forces.

The website made an extensive coverage of the killing, publishing earlier interviews with Sheikh Yassin and speaking to other Hamas leaders.

IOL also ran a poll , in which 90.85 percent of the 7556 respondents said the assassination would not bring in the long-awaited security to the Israelis.

The Alexa traffic rank - which reflects both the number of users who visit web sites as well as the number of pages viewed by those users - put on the list of the 1,500 sites mostly surfed by the cyber community.

Alexa found the reach rank for the site hitting its highest increase of 14 per cent in the last three months.

The site’s technical support experts managed to foil all hacking attempts during the last three days.

The site faces up to more than 250 hacking attempts a day.

Cyber War

Meanwhile, the dialogue forums of have been witnessing a ferocious cyber war since the extrajudicial killing of Sheikh Yassin, in which more than 1,000 individuals joined in Arabic and English.

The pro-Israel participants - who were keen to ascertain their identities - launched a scathing attack on Sheikh Yassin, calling him a murderer, barbarian and a terrorist.

The site for Hamas, the biggest resistance Palestinian group that carries out operations against Israel, was also hacked the same day Ariel Sharon took office as Prime Minister in 2001, few months after the Intifada erupted.

Visitors, including journalists, anticipating Hamas press releases were re-directed to pornographic websites.


IOL technical experts said the servers of the site escaped unscathed after hacking the site which was done through message dumping.

Floods of messages requesting a new program offered on the site led to the inability of all world users to see it, they said.

The service returned to normal after the traffic of messages was jammed, the technicians added.

Facing Intifada

Several similar Muslim and Arab sites have come under attack from Israeli hackers since the eruption of Intifadah in September 2001.

Israeli hackers crashed several Hezbollah-related web sites as a case in point.

Israeli hackers then assailed a Lebanese Internet company for what was believed to be an act of reprisal for its hosting of a Hezbollah-maintained television station, al-Manar.

The hackers left a message that the portal was taken over by the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

In March 2001, two virus-infected messages targeted one of the most used news servers by Muslims and Arabs, the Muslim Student Association News (MSANEWS).

Attachments sent to the subscribers bore the name of Yassin, named after the Hamas spiritual leader whom Palestinians consider a symbol of the Intifada.

Observers said that official parties could be involved in the hacking, usually made by experts able to evade measures imposed by internet security companies.

On March 2003, hackers downed the Al-Jazeera website after the Qatar-based channel aired pictures of a number of U.S. soldiers captured and killed in Iraq seven days after the start of the Anglo-American offensive.

In the aftermath of the September 2001 attacks, Internet hackers are already calling for "revenge" attacks against Muslim and Arab websites.

At, a website run by SANS (System Administration, Networking, and Security) Institute, there is a string of postings from U.S. newsgroups calling for an attack on Arab and Islamic websites.


Good artists copy, great artists