Joint international crackdown takes out ‘the mouthpiece’ of Daesh

International law enforcement has “punched a big hole” in Daesh’s ability to spread propaganda as all assets of its news agency were taken down.

Apr 27, 2018
By Adam Button
Rob Wainwright: `I applaud the determined and innovative work by Europol`

UK officers have helped colleagues from across the world dismantle the terror sect’s propaganda machine by removing its media outlets from the internet.

Targets included the Amaq news agency – described as “the mouthpiece” of Daesh – as well as al-Bayan radio, Halumu and Nashir news.

Europol claimed the joint operation means Daesh’s capability to broadcast and publicise terrorist material has been significantly compromised.

In late 2015, Europol informed all EU Member States about the growing prevalence of Amaq, which has been used to claim terror attacks including recent atrocities in Paris, Barcelona and Berlin.

With this ground-breaking operation we have punched a big hole in the capability of IS to spread propaganda online and radicalise young people in Europe.

Amaq was officially endorsed by Daesh in July 2017 and has since become the primary source of information regarding its activities.

The news agency had been launching its own highly resilient software and offered mailed newsletters and add-on extensions for web-browsers.

In August 2016, a coalition of EU Member States and countries including Canada and the US took part in a joint strike against Amaq’s mobile application and web infrastructure.

It was hit in a second operation in July 2017, which led to the identification of radicalised people in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Between April 25 and 26 this year, a third simultaneous multinational takedown, coordinated by Europol, led to the seizure of digital evidence and Daesh servers.

The UK’s Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit took the lead in the referral process of top-level domain registrars abused by Daesh.

The data retrieved through the operation should help to identify administrators behind Daesh media outlets and potentially radicalised individuals.

Europol executive director Rob Wainwright said: “With this ground-breaking operation we have punched a big hole in the capability of IS to spread propaganda online and radicalise young people in Europe.

“I applaud the determined and innovative work by Europol and its partners to target a major part of the international terrorist threat prevalent in Europe today.”

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