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Islamic State Propaganda Sites Shut Down

Authorities have downsized servers and websites that the Islamic State uses for propaganda deals in coordinated international efforts, said the European Union's law enforcement agency, but whether they remain offline long remains uncertain.

The US, Canada, and six European countries' enforcement action, which took place on Wednesday but was announced on Friday, was the third time in years that authorities took action against Islamic State locations.

Each time they returned better fortified, but every take-down also provided valuable information, officials said. And the efforts failed to stop the propaganda completely: Islamic state observers reported that the main target of the attack, the Amaq news agency of the extremist group, continued to send news and videos via the encrypted news service Telegram.

The operation was coordinated by the Europol headquarters in The Hague, The Netherlands. Europol Director

Rob Wainwright

The take-down ̵

1; which included the servers used by the terrorist group in the US, Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands – is greater than ever before and will provide crucial evidence and information about activists and sympathizers of the Islamic State in Europe and beyond , [19659003] "The amount of infrastructure we have reduced is significant"

Mr. Wainwright

said. "This is a big blow to their online presence."

He said the operation is "technically very complex" and draws on the recent experience of US and European law enforcement agencies eliminating cybercrime networks and illegal online marketplaces.

Europol has stated that digital evidence has been found in France, Romania and Bulgaria. Investigators in the UK took the lead in removing terrorist organization websites.

Amaq, which was founded in 2014 and became the main trigger for terrorist group attacks over the years, has developed its own software and online hosting infrastructure since 2015, according to Interpol. As of December, it was available in at least nine different languages, not only on its website, but also via e-mail newsletters and web browser extensions.

Amaq was the target of take-downs in 2016 and 2017. These moves prompted Islamic State Europol investigators could identify radicalized people in over 100 countries while tracking down the most active users, according to Europol.

From the beginning, Islamic State focus has focused on online propaganda and communication as a key component of its operations, unlike other jihadist groups. His videos have encouraged followers to carry out attacks, but also as organizational evidence of life and a way to consolidate the group's reputation as an outstanding jihad group for overseas watchers.

Since the loss of most of its territory in Syria and Iraq, the amount of propaganda by the Islamic State has shrunk, but it has maintained an online presence, documented struggles and attempted to recruit fighters.

While still able to operate on social media channels, attacks on its cyber infrastructure could damage its long-term capabilities, said

Charlie Winter,

Senior Research Fellow at the UK International Center for Radicalization and Political Violence

"I expect it has created strategic problems for the IS who curate his legacy at the moment. T know how much is changing in everyday life, "

Mr. Winter

However, Amaq has also posted a video on archive.org, a web site that stores archives of web pages, videos, and images instead of the usual channel, suggesting that Europol may have entered its archives

" That's an impressive win, "said Winter.

Apart from Amaq's attacks, the coordinated actions have also destroyed three other news channels: the Iraqi Al-Bayan Radio, whose online presence was temporarily cut short of last year, and Halumu and Nashir News, Europol said.

The loss of the territory of the Islamic State in Syria will make it more difficult to regroup and restore its online presence, Mr. Wainwright said.

"As they have been really unbalanced both in terms of territorial and online presence, that is a real step forward."

Others say the Islamic State is online and in some Muslim countries Communities a strong ideological force. In January, a pro-Islamic state-tech group claimed to have distributed approvals for 4,590 social media accounts along with 740 virtual phone numbers to supporters of the Islamic State this month.

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