A group apparently sympathetic to the Iranian government has joined the cyber war which had so far been dominated by the opposition by hacking the social networking site Twitter.

The hacking led users of Twitter to a website represented by the Iranian Cyber Army, of which nothing had been heard so far. Twitter home page was replaced by one which announced: “This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army.” The hackers posted a slogan on the site which declared in Arabic, “Hizbollah is victorious,” and a message, “Ya Hussein,” in deference to Imam Hussein, the iconic Shia spiritual figure.

Analysts see the hacking as a riposte by pro-government sympathisers against the Iranian opposition which had used Twitter extensively, as one of its main channels of communication, during the disputed June presidential elections.

The hacking coincided with major pro-government rallies on Friday in several Iranian cities.

The protesters slammed the recent desecration of a picture of the founder of the Islamic Revolution, the late Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, state-run Press TV reported.

There has been an angry response to the TV footage, of the December 7 student protest, where a torn poster of Ayatollah Khomeini had been shown. The rallies ended with a statement condemning the desecration.

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