European Union operation deals blow to Isis propaganda machine

  • European Union operation deals blow to Isis propaganda machine

European Union operation deals blow to Isis propaganda machine

Targeted media outlets included major ISIS-branded media outlet Amaq News Agency - commonly considered the terror group's main mouthpiece and available in at least nine languages - as well as al-Bayan radio, Halumu and Nashir news.

A joint operation to tackle the Daesh* propaganda machine was launched on April 25, 2018 by the law enforcement authorities of the European Union Member States, Canada and the USA and coordinated by the European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) within the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) at the Europol headquarters.

"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, " said Europol Executive Director Rob Wainwright.

It was used to claim responsibility for the attacks in Paris, Brussels, Barcelona and Berlin in 2016, as well as last month's supermarket siege in Trèbes, France, in which a gunman killed four people, including a gendarme who took the place of a hostage.

Europol said it first began targeting the Islamic State's online capabilities at the end of 2015, when all European Union member states were notified about the rise of the Amaq News Agency.

The operation resulted in the seizure of digital evidence by law enforcement agencies from Bulgaria, France and Romania, as well as the seizure of web servers in the Netherlands, Canada and the USA, according to Europol.

The attack aimed to disrupt the technical resilience of the terrorist online infrastructure, Wainwright added.

A second operation in June 2017, led by Spain's Guardia Civil, led to the seizure of servers that led to the identification of radicalised individuals in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Britain's Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit was also involved in identifying "top-level domain registrars abused by IS", Europol said.

Europol say that IS - also known as Daesh - has had it's capability to broadcast and publicise terrorist material compromised.

Europol authorities said the data retrieved as a result of the crackdown would be used to identify the administrators behind IS media outlets.

"We will not stop until their propaganda is entirely eradicated from the Internet", Avramopoulos said.

The "simultaneous multinational takedown" was coordinated by Europol from its headquarters in The Hague, and led by the Belgian federal prosecutor.