The EU police agency, Europol claims a coordinated transatlantic international operation has struck a major blow against the internet propaganda of the Islamic State group which has compromised the extremist group’s ‘capability to broadcast and publicise terrorist material.’
European and US law enforcement teams have disabled the key communications channels spread in eight countries that used to broadcast attack claims and spread slick propaganda videos globally.
“With this groundbreaking operation, we have punched a big hole in the capability of [Isis] to spread propaganda online and radicalise young people in Europe,” said Rob Wainwright, executive director of the European police agency.
Cyber specialists in various European countries, Canada and the US targeted online sites including the Amaq News Agency, seen as the main IS mouthpiece, as well as lesser propaganda channels including Bayan radio, Halumu and Nashir news, Europol said.
“With this takedown action, targeting major IS-branded media outlets like Amaq, but also al-Bayan radio, Halumu and Nashir news, IS’s capability to broadcast and publicise terrorist material has been compromised,” Europol said.
IS broadcasts in several languages.
The two-day operation on Wednesday (April 25) and Thursday (April 26) was the latest stage of a campaign first launched in 2015.
Europol co-ordinated a “simultaneous multinational takedown” of IS media, seizing digital evidence and servers. The takedown was coordinated via Europol’s headquarters in The Hague with the support of Eurojust, the EU agency for judicial cooperation in criminal matters. IS jihadists may now be identified.
The agency said in a statement that the operation, led by Belgian prosecutors and involving teams from Bulgaria, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Romania, the UK and the US, was aimed at severely disrupting the propaganda flow of Isis, hampering its ability to broadcast terrorist material for an undetermined period of time.
It said French, Romanian and Bulgarian police had quantities of digital evidence, while law enforcement officers in the Netherlands, US and Canada captured Isis servers and Britain’s counter-terrorism internet referral unit identified top-level domain registrars abused by Isis.