Palestinian hacker group AnonGhost have teamed up with tech experts aligned with Daesh, also known as Isis, to create a new cyberwarfare organisation. The formation of the new group, the so-called "Ghost Caliphate," was announced in an online video through Twitter channels linked to Isis hackers the Caliphate Cyber Army.
The 12-minute video shows animated computer code interspersed with pictures and footage of injured children and what appear to be New York, implying that the new group could "reach" the West and cause havoc. However the footage also shows Tel Aviv, and the accompanying commentary makes clear it is Jews and "Crusaders" who will be targeted.
"Either you submit yourselves to Allah alone, without partner, and believe in Him as your Lord and God ... or you pay us the jizyah with willing submission and feel yourselves subdued," says a voice in Arabic. "If, however, you choose the third option and insist on being arrogant, conceited and stubborn then you will soon, by Allah's permission, bite your fingers in regret."
AnonGhost has previously targeted Israeli sites on the anniversary of Holocaust commemoration day as part of what it calls an "electronic Holocaust." The group also hacked French sites in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in support of the killers. However its apparent decision to team up with Daesh has caused horror and alarm among some Palestinians.
"The Palestinian cause embraces universal values of freedom and justice," Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) spokesman Xavier Abu Eid told Newsweek. "Daesh terrorists have even burnt Palestinian flags. Nobody could support Daesh and the just cause for Palestine's freedom and independence at the same time."
The battle for cyberspace is hotly contested between jihadists and Western groups like Anonymous, which has pledged to destroy Isis online. Isis have made an appeal for hackers to join its ranks, but the threat to Western interests by Daesh-related hackers is believed to have diminished following the death of British hacker Abu Hussain Britani. However analysts believe that could change very quickly if Isis attracts new technical expertise.