A weekend cyberattack campaign targeting Israeli government websites failed to cause serious disruption, officials said on Sunday. The attacks followed warnings in the name of the group Anonymous that it was launching a massive hacking assault to protest Israeli policy toward the Palestinians.

Posters using the name of the hacking group Anonymous had warned they would launch a massive attack on Israeli sites in a strike they called #OpIsrael starting April 7. Some said they were launching the assault in “solidarity” with the Palestinians.

Israel’s Bureau of Statistics was down on Sunday morning but it was unclear if it was hacked. Media said the sites of the Defence and Education Ministry as well as banks had come under attack the night before but they were mostly repelled.

Israeli sites reported brief cyberattacks on the stock market website and the Finance Ministry website on Saturday night. But the institutions denied the reports.

Israeli media said small businesses had been targeted, and some websites’ homepages were replaced by anti-Israel slogans. In retaliation, Israeli activists hacked sites of radical Islamist groups and splashed them with pro-Israel messages, media said.

In January last year, a hacker network that claimed to be based in Saudi Arabia paralysed websites of Israel’s stock exchange and national airline and claimed to have published details of thousands of Israeli credit cards.

A concerted effort to cripple Israeli websites during November fighting in Gaza failed to cause serious disruption. An official of the militant Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip praised the current attack. “God bless the minds and the efforts of the soldiers of the electronic battle,” Ihab al-Ghussian, Gaza’s chief government spokesman, wrote on his official Facebook page.

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