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The hacking collective known as Anonymous claimed to have launched a cyberattack on the Syrian government and the Saudi Arabian government to punish both sides of the Syrian civil war for atrocities that had been committed.
Anonymous said in a statement released on Sunday that the hack attack had been launched on behalf of the “people of Syria,” and it condemned both the Assad government and rebel fighters, which have received support from Saudi Arabia, for their violent acts.
“We have been watching as tragic events unfold, such as the on-going massacres between self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda members (the rebels) and the murderers known as the military of Assad. We condemn both their actions and call out to everyone to help end this bloody conflict,” the group said in a statement posted on the popular content sharing website Pastebin.
Anonymous released a list of 22 Saudi and Syrian web domains that it would be launching attacks against, and vowed to add more targets in the coming days, according to its statement.
The first set of targets in Anonymous’ crosshairs was a collection of websites belonging to the Saudi Arabian government and military, which has sided with America against Assad.
The hacking collective accused the Saudis of backing rebel fighters tied to the terror group al Qaeda.
“Oppressed people of Syria you have our undivided attention,” the statement said. “For the past couple of years your country has been the subject of attacks from enemies both foreign and domestic, from corrupted politicians clinging to power, to actual terrorists funded and backed by Saudi Arabia posing as peaceful protesters.”
Websites purportedly belonging the Royal Saudi Army, the Saudi Intelligence Agency, and the Saudi Ministry of Interior were said to be inaccessible for a time on Sunday, according to a Twitter user named Anon First Response, who tweeted the attack in real time.
Some of the websites could not be accessed at the time of this writing, while others appeared to be operating normally. The Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The group also vowed to go after corporations and governments that it claims have supported Assad’s government.
“Together we will fight back against the wrongdoings of the Assad regime,” the statement said. “Whether it be in the field or in cyberspace we will do our best to fight back. We have launched multiple cyberattacks on corporations in support of the regime. Those in support of the regime will be targeted.”
“We, the people of this planet, have had it enough [sic],” the statement said. “Stop the bloodshed, stop the violence, stop the hidden wars for control and resources or we will make you regret it.”
Anonymous tied the Syrian government’s oppression to that of Saudi Arabia’s, despite the latter country’s support for deposing Assad.
“We will no longer stand for this, neither the Saudi Arabian Government’s interferance [sic] and their crude, barbaric way of treating their people, nor of Assad’s current immoral and irresponsible agenda of killing citizens in cold blood,” the statement read.
The hackers vowed to continue their attacks in the weeks to come.
Anonymous hinted in late August that it was gearing up to take action in Syria.
“For far too long we have witnessed the barbaric, unjust, and brutal treatment of the Syrian people,” the group said in a video statement posted August 28 on YouTube. “It is clear that whoever the citizens may rally behind, their safety and security is ultimately transient and not guaranteed.”
The group promised to attack targets on both sides of the conflict.
“The time has now come for us to take action,” the group said, singling out both Assad and “opposition elements.”
“You now have the undivided attention of Anonymous,” the group said. “Cease fire immediately and stop the violence towards the innocent or you will feel our wrath.”
Anonymous has attacked Saudi government sites in the past.
The Saudi Interior Minister in May admitted that hackers claiming association with Anonymous had successfully launched attacks on several websites.
Assad told interviewer Charlie Rose on Sunday that he does not believe the United States will get involved in the conflict. He also “suggested that there would be, among people that are aligned with him, some kind of retaliation if a strike was made,” according to Rose, who discussed the interview with CBS News.