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Al-Jazeera hacked

Fake SMS news alert reports assassination of Qatari Prime Minister

Similar attacks on Al-Jazeera's websites proved to be orchestrated by a pro-Syrian group.
Similar attacks on Al-Jazeera's websites proved to be orchestrated by a pro-Syrian group.

The Al-Jazeera news network's SMS alert system came under attack from hackers yesterday, reports Al-Jazeera.net. The compromised system was used by the as-yet unidentified group to send a series of false news alerts, one of which reported the assassination of the Qatari Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem.

Social networks, including Twitter, quoted Al-Jazeera's mobile service as saying Sheikh Hamad was targeted in an attack on the palace in Doha and that the wife of the emir, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, was lightly wounded.

The strike comes a mere four days after exploits were unleashed on some of the news agency's websites.

"The story claiming that the Prime Minister has been the target of an assassination attempt in the royal palace is completely false and was a result of hacking of the service," the channel said. It went on to say the claim was among three false alerts sent via its SMS service.

On Wednesday, the network reported the hacking of some of its websites where pro-Syrian regime slogans were posted. Earlier reports had said the websites of the Qatar-owned network appeared with a Syrian flag and the word "Hack" and a message saying the piracy was in "response to the hostile position of the channel towards Syria, its people and government".

 The message also referred to Al-Jazeera's "spread of false news". Qatar has repeatedly voiced support for the Syrian opposition against President Bashar al-Assad's government and has openly called for arming rebels there, drawing strong criticism from Damascus, which accuses the network of pro-rebel bias.