Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians are increasingly escalating as the two sides intensify their ground battle around the Gaza Strip. It appears their conflict has now also been brought online as the Israel Defense Forces Twitter account was hacked on Thursday.
The official IDF spokesperson account sent out an apology tweet saying, "We apologize for the incorrect tweets. Our twitter account was compromised. We will combat terror on all fronts including the cyber dimension."
We apologize for the incorrect tweets Our twitter account was compromised. We will combat terror on all fronts including the cyber dimension
-- IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 3, 2014
It appears the tweets in question, which have now been deleted, referenced a hazardous leak at Israel's Dimona nuclear facility and an homage to Palestine. The nuclear tweet said, "#WARNING: possible nuclear leak after 2 rockets hit Dimona nuclear facility." And, the Palestine tweet said, "Always via @Official_SEA16 Long live #Palestine."
-- SyrianElectronicArmy (@Official_SEA16) July 3, 2014
Within the tweet about Palestine was "@Official_SEA16." SEA stands for the Syrian Electronic Army, which is a hacking group that does actions in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
While it's unclear if the SEA orchestrated the hack, the group has been known for taking over Twitter accounts in the past. Last year, it claimed responsibility for getting into the accounts of The Associated Press, NPR, CBS (the parent company of CNET), the Guardian, the BBC, and even the Onion.
For more than 50 years, Israelis and Palestinians have been locked in a near-continuous conflict that has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians. As the two sides have battled it out on the ground, they've also increasingly brought their skirmishes online -- ramping up their social media presence and taking stabs at each other virtually. The IDF now probably has the biggest social media presence of any military worldwide.
CNET contacted the IDF for comment. We will update the story when we get more information.