Bahrain government websites briefly inaccessible after cyberattack over Israel-Hamas war


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The websites of two government ministries in Bahrain briefly became inaccessible Tuesday night after a cyberattack took them down, purportedly over the island kingdom’s stance on the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

A statement posted online by a self-described group calling itself Al-Toufan, or “The Flood” in Arabic, claimed hacking the Foreign Ministry and the Information Affairs Ministry’s websites. Both later became accessible.

Another statement included scans of passports for American citizens and a top Russian diplomat in Bahrain that allegedly came from the hack.

The statement said the hacks came in retaliation for “the abnormal statements issued” by the island’s Al Khalifa ruling family, without elaborating. Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa opened a summit last week in the kingdom with a call for a swap between Hamas and Israel for the hostages and a halt in the bloodshed.

A Bahrain government statement sent later Tuesday night to The Associated Press acknowledged that “a number of government agency websites have today been the target of malicious cyberattacks.”

“The government of Bahrain has implemented a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and framework to address such threats,” the statement said. “Government operations were unaffected by the attacks, and work is ongoing to restore access to the targeted websites.”

In February, the self-described group issued a claim that it had taken down the websites of Bahrain’s international airport, state news agency and chamber of commerce to mark the 12-year anniversary of an Arab Spring uprising in the small Gulf country. The same shadowy self-described group targeted government websites during elections held last year that were boycotted by a banned Shiite opposition group and others.

Bahrain reached a diplomatic recognition deal with Israel in 2020 alongside the United Arab Emirates. The island kingdom, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, has drawn repeated criticism from Iran, its regional arch rival, over that.

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