Gaza conflict spills over onto the Internet.
Hacker collective Anonymous appear to have joined forces with Palestinian combatants and has attacked several Israeli government sites in what it terms Operation Israel.
A press release posted on the Anonymous affliated Anonpaste website deplores what the hacking group says is "the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of Palestinian people in the so-called Occupied Territories by the Israeli Defence Force".
The Israeli military strikes aren't what prodded Anonymous into action however, according to the press release.
Instead, it was Israel's threat to isolate the Gaza strip from the Internet that "crossed the line in the sand."
The hackers threaten Israel that it must not shut down the Internet or it "will know the full and unbridled wrath of Anonymous."
According to a statement made by Anonymous Press on Twitter yesterday, over forty Israeli government and military websites had been taken down in three hours.
A list of data captured from breached sites, including a claimed list of personal information and credit card numbers for 35,000 Israelis, was published on the Oz Data Centa site.
The Times of Israel reported that Anonymous managed to take down the site of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC and the official blog of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) but doesn't appear to have had much success otherwise with its campaign.
A list of 658 Israeli civilian sites said to be defaced was published on Pastebin on Thursday but a check of twenty of them revealed that they are operating normally. No government sites are on the Pastebin list.
On Saturday, Anonymous claimed to have deleted the database for Israel's ministry of foreign affairs website, mashav.mfa.gov.il.
iTnews was able to confirm that the MFA site is down and displays a database connection error, but there has been no official confirmation of the attack.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on Saturday
Israeli hackers meanwhile are counter-attacking, aiming to bring down Internet Relay Chat (IRC) networks used by Anons to communicate and coordinate attacks. The Jewish nation is also heavily employing social media, with the Israeli Defence Force providing up to date tweets on the Gaza conflict on Twitter for instance.
Anonymous has also published what it calls a Gaza Care Package, to help Palestinians communicate.
The hacker group suggests measures such as using dial-up, Nintendo DS, satellite access and wireless networks, to stay connected if Israel isolates Gaza from the Internet.