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Palestinians seek UN inquiry into internet attack

A Palestinian minister said today he would seek an international inquiry into a hacking attack that took down internet service across the West Bank and Gaza.

world Updated: Nov 02, 2011 19:02 IST

A Palestinian minister said on Wednesday he would seek an international inquiry into a hacking attack that took down internet service across the West Bank and Gaza.

Communications minister Mashur Abu Daqqa said the Palestinians would ask the International Telecommunications Union, a UN agency, to officially investigate Tuesday's cyber-attack.

"We will begin today our communications with the ITU to request an international committee to investigate the facts," he told a news conference.

On Tuesday, internet service across the Palestinian territories went down after a coordinated hacking attack against Palestinian servers.

Abu Daqqa said on Tuesday that the attack was "organised" and hinted that it could have been orchestrated by Israel in response to the Palestinians' winning full membership of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

"The sites have been attacked in an organised way using mirror servers," he said.

"I think from the manner of the attack and its intensity that there is a state behind it, and it is not spontaneous.

"Israel could be involved as it announced (on Monday) that it was considering the kind of sanctions it would impose on us," he added.

On Wednesday, Abu Daqqa reiterated that the complex nature of the attack, which reportedly involved hackers from more than 20 nations, suggested "the work of a state."

"It was clear that this attack was intended to wipe the name of Palestine off the internet in response to Palestinian membership at UNESCO," he said.

By Wednesday afternoon, internet service was largely restored across the Palestinian territories.

Abdel Majid Melhem, director general of the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, said the attack was "almost brought under control, but is ongoing, and our teams are working around the clock to solve the problem."

The communications ministry said it would set up a committee to examine the attack and devise methods to prevent or respond to similar incidents in the future.