Al-Qaeda's Top Web Sites Disappear

Militants experiencing technical difficulties since hacker attack
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2008 11:40 AM CDT
This image released from video shown on an Islamic militant Web site where al-Qaeda's media arm, Al-Sahab, frequently posts messages, shows a still image of Osama bin Laden, center.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – All but one of al-Qaeda’s main message boards have disappeared, the Washington Post reports, and militants seem unable to get them back online. All five major al-Qaeda portals went down September 10, putting the kibosh on the group’s much-hyped Sept. 11 anniversary video. Only one of the sites has returned; on it, jihadis are fretting about what happened.

“Oh, my God, save my brothers on the jihadi forums,” posted one typical user. Militants “are quite paranoid and quite confused,” said one expert. Jihadi sites often experience small disruptions, but “it was very clear this is something entirely different.” For militants, these message boards carry the heft of official government sites, another expert said. “This has left al-Qaeda’s propaganda strategy hanging by a very narrow thread.” US intelligence officials declined to say whether the US had a role in the disappearance.