Europe, US, Canada 'Punch Hole' in Islamic State Web Propaganda

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Media caption The rise and fall of Islamic State’s propaganda machine

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption The rise and fall of Islamic State’s propaganda machine

The action - which involved forces from France, UK, Bulgaria, Romania, the Netherlands and Belgium - was focused on Amaq News Agency, one of the jihadist group's main propaganda outlets.

European and U.S. law enforcement teams have disabled the key communications channels of the Islamic State group in a coordinated operation involving agencies in eight countries, Europol has said.

Wednesday and Thursday's operation was the latest in a campaign targeting in particular the Amaq news agency used by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group to broadcast claims of attacks and spread its message of jihad.

Police notably targeted the IS-branded Aamaq news agency, as well as al-Bayan radio, and Halumu and Nasher news sites.

"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.

The terror group also used Amaq to claim responsibility for the supermarket siege in Trebes, France in March.

The case started at the end of 2015 when Europol informed all European Union member states about the rise of the Amaq News Agency and the technical resilience of the terrorist online infrastructure.

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Europol said Amaq has developed resilient hosting for its online activities and that the entire range of ISIL propaganda was available in at least nine different languages. A coordinated effort in August 2016 hit Amaq's mobile application and web infrastructure.

Amaq News Agency was among the outlets targeted in coordinated take down operation.

Britain's counter-terrorism internet referral unit led the process of identifying and referring web domains that had been abused by IS.

"Today's worldwide takedown action, with the support of Europol, shows our global strength and our unwavering resolve to fight against terrorist content online", Avramopoulos said.

He added that IS was now "no longer just losing territory on the ground - but also online".

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

Following the latest operation, European commissioner for security Sir Julian King said: "This shows that by working together we can stamp out the poisonous propaganda Daesh has used to fuel numerous recent terror attacks in Europe".

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