A new front has been opened in the long-running dispute over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, after UK hackers attacked an online game in which Argentine special forces battle British 'terrorists' for control of the islands.

On Monday 24 March, Dattatec.com, a company based in Rosario, Argentina, launched a version of the popular online game Counter Strike based in the Falklands. The company claims it has already been downloaded 15,000 times.

"In 1982, Argentines fought the English to recover the sovereignty of their Malvinas islands," reads the game's opening sequence. The Malvinas is the Argentine term for the Falklands.

The company claims it excludes the Union flag from the game's map ""out of respect to the honour and glory of those who fell in the Malvinas".

However, just days later, Fernando Llorente, a spokesman for the company, revealed: "Two of our websites were attacked using DDoS (distributed denial of service) during the day, with hackers trying to saturate our server's connection."

DDoS attacks involve multiple computers simultaneously trying to access a site and overwhelming it with requests.

"The attack," Llorente continued, "was 5 Gbps in strength - the equivalent of 5,000 PCs connecting to the site at the same time every second - but our technical team was able to block it effectively.

"Generally these attacks come from eastern Europe and China, but we detected that most, although not all, of the IP addresses used this time were from the UK.

"At Dattatec we habitually receive different scopes of attack - this is the first one that has come mainly from the UK, although I cannot confirm that it was a case of cyber warfare.

"We think diplomacy should prevail between Argentina and the UK and we do not fear another attack - when someone tries to hit a server and is blocked, they do not try again."

The attack comes amidst ratcheting tension between Britain and Argentina over the ownership of the islands.

Argentina's president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, recently asked the newly elected pope Francis I, formerly the archbishop of Buenos Aires, to use his position to declare his support for Argentina's claim.

Recently 99.8 per cent of the island's inhabitants voted in favour of remaining a UK overseas territory in a referendum, which the Argentines have declared "illegal".

In the 1982 conflict between the countries over the islands, 650 Argentine and 255 British soldiers died. The war began on 2 April, 1982, when Argentine forces invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Argentina surrendered on 14 June, 1982.