If you've been following the news at all over the past few days, you probably know about Israel's latest offensive against Hamas. On Wednesday, the country's military assassinated Hamas' military leader Ahmed Al-Jaabari. Hamas retaliated, and Israel is now considering a ground invasion into Gaza.
What separates this particular offensive from past excursions is that Israel has threatened to cut off the Internet in Gaza. It may be an effective tactic in disrupting communications, but it affects thousands of civilians as well. Anonymous didn't take too kindly to Israel's action, and are now working under the #OpIsrael banner to protect Gaza citizens' access to the Internet.
The group released a statement on the operation this morning:
For far to long, Anonymous has stood by with the rest of the world and watched in despair the barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment of the Palestinian people in the so called "Occupied Territories" by the Israel Defense Force. Like so many around the globe, we have felt helpless in the face of such implacable evil. And today's insane attack and threatened invasion of Gaza was more of the same.
But when the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand. As the former dictator of Egypt Mubarack learned the hard way - we are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch. To the IDF and government of Israel we issue you this warning only once. Do NOT shut down the Internet into the "Occupied Territories", and cease and desist from your terror upon the innocent people of Palestine or you will know the full and unbridled wrath of Anonymous. And like all the other evil governments that have faced our rage, you will NOT survive it unscathed.
To the people of Gaza and the "Occupied Territories", know that Anonymous stands with you in this fight. We will do everything in our power to hinder the evil forces of the IDF arrayed against you. We will use all our resources to make certain you stay connected to the Internet and remain able to transmit your experiences to the world. As a start, we have put together the Anonymous Gaza Care Package which contains instructions in Arabic and English that can aid you in the event the Israel government makes good on it's threat to attempt to sever your Internet connection. It also contains useful information on evading IDF surveillance, and some basic first aid and other useful information. We will continue to expand and improve this document in the coming days, and we will transmit it to you by every means at our disposal. We encourage you to download this package, and to share it with your fellow Palestinians to the best of your ability.
We will be with you. No matter how dark it may seem, no matter how alone and abandoned you may feel - know that tens of thousands of us in Anonymous are with you and working tirelessly around the clock to bring you every aid and assistance that we can.
We Are Anonymous
We Are Everywhere
We Are Legion
We Do Not Forgive
We Do Not Forget
To the oppressors of the innocent Palestinian people, it is to late to EXPECT US
As part of the operation, Anonymous has been taking down and defacing various Israeli government and military sites in protest. The Anonymous Press says that over 40 Web sites have been taken down since the operation began.
The group is also looking for professional translators to translate its communications into Arabic and Hebrew. As it turns out, Google Translate isn't that effective for either language, and civilians of both ethnicities stand to lose Internet in Gaza if the IDF follows through on its threat.
UPDATE: Anonymous is now saying that Internet access in some parts of Gaza has been taken down.
[h/t: Business Insider]