An “unprecedented” Euro-American international police offensive has paralyzed the main online propaganda organs of the Islamic State (ISIS) group, the European police agency Europol welcomed on Friday.
“We have dealt a great blow to ISIS’s ability to spread its propaganda online and to radicalize young people in Europe,” said Rob Wainwright, head of the European Crime Prevention Agency, in a statement. communicated.
The operation, thanks to the collaboration of the US and EU police, took place on Wednesday and Thursday and particularly targeted the Amaq agency used by radical Islamists to claim attacks and spread their appeals to jihad. This is the last step of a campaign launched in 2015.
“By this dismantling action, targeting the major IS bodies in the media field, such as Amaq, but also al-Bayan radio, Halumu and Nashir news sites, ISIS’s ability to propagate and promoting his terrorist material is compromised,” the statement added.
“Multinational and simultaneous dismantling” was coordinated through the Europol headquarters in The Hague with the support of Eurojust, the European Union’s judicial cooperation unit.
The operation was led by the Belgian federal prosecutor, while national police seized servers in the Netherlands, Canada and the United States, as well as digital equipment in Bulgaria, France and Romania.
Belgian, Bulgarian, Canadian, French, Dutch, Romanian, British and American police collaborated in this “coordinated effort to prevent the IS from publishing its terrorist propaganda for an indefinite time,” added Europol.
“The aim is to severely destabilize the IS propaganda apparatus and to identify and challenge the administrators of these servers by entering and closing the servers used to broadcast IS propaganda,” he said. the Belgian Federal Prosecution in a statement.
The British anti-terrorist unit was also involved and identified “large domain name registrars usurped by ISIS”.
The propaganda capabilities of the IS in constant decline
The British electronic intelligence services (GCHQ) had already announced in early April to have severely degraded the release capabilities of media IE.
At its peak in 2015, when the self-proclaimed “caliphate” occupied a territory about the size of Italy in Syria and Iraq, the propaganda activities of IS were very diverse.
The group has long been well represented on Twitter, until new rules lead to the closure of most of its accounts.
The extremist organization also ran color magazines full of illustrations, storytelling, apocalyptic prophecies, explosive fabrication manuals, weapons handling and articles seeking to persuade Muslims whole world to join the “caliphate”.
The group had also put online applications for smartphones and a website specializing in “nasheed”, warrior and religious songs sung in capella.
The audiovisual production companies Al Furqan and Al-Hayat produced documentaries of technical quality worthy of the major television channels, praising the group’s military victories, broadcasting audio and video messages from the leaders and clips calling for international volunteers to join ” the lands of jihad “.
The jihadists have used their agency Amaq in 2016 to claim attacks in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, including the deadly attacks in Paris, Brussels, Barcelona and Berlin.