The Saudi-owned, London-based Al-Hayat news site was taken over on Monday by hackers that identified themselves as part of a pro-Houthi “Yemen Cyber Army,” in an Arabic message displayed for its readers.
Saudi Arabia has been engaged in an aerial bombardment campaign against Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen. The Saudis have been able to gather a nine country coalition–which includes the United States–in an attempt to reinstall the internationally-recognized government under President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The pro-Yemen hackers displayed a photo of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, with the slogan in Arabic, “We have few words to say to you, prepare your bomb shelters.”
“We are oppressed but not weak. We are waiting for you. Come with all your Israeli and US made weapons,” adds the pro-Houthi message in English.
The Houthi slogan, “Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse The Jews, Victory To Islam,” was also displayed in the photograph, according to media reports.
On Tuesday morning, when the site administrators retook possession of the site, they wrote a memo stating that “the website is under website due to hacking attempts.”
On Sunday, Iran’s state-run Arabic language TV channel, Al Alam, was hacked by cyber warriors, who then posted a fake report that one of the chief Houthi leaders had died. Al Alam’s YouTube channel was reportedly taken over, and a video was posted on the channel praising Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Al Arabiya reports.
Al Hayat has a daily circulation of around 200,000 people and is considered to be a pro-Saudi, pro-West paper. The paper is owned by Khaled bin Sultan, a member of the House of Saud who most recently served as Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defense. A Wikileaks cable revealed that the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh believes Sultan does not interfere with the paper’s content, “provided it never criticizes the royal family.”