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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 December 2005, 13:22 GMT
Militants' new tack in cyber war
By Sebastian Usher
BBC News world media corrrespondent

US Marines patrol the streets of Falluja earlier in November
More than 2,000 US troops have died since the invasion of Iraq
A new twist has surfaced in the cyber war being waged by Islamic militants.

A message has been posted to several radical Islamist - or jihadi - websites announcing a competition to design a new site for a militant group in Iraq.

The prize offered is the chance to fire missiles remote-controlled by computer at a US military base in Iraq.

Whether the competition is genuine or not, it shows again how jihadis are using the internet both to organise attacks and to drum up publicity.

The internet provides not just a vital means of organisation for Islamic militants but also a huge opportunity for propaganda.

That is presumably the intention of the message that has recently shown up on several jihadi websites with details of a competition to design a new website for a militant group in Iraq, calling itself Jaish Al-Taifa Al-Mansura, to showcase its messages and videos.

The winner will be given the chance, the group says, to fire three long-range missiles at an American army base in Iraq by - in the words of the announcement - "pressing a button on his computer with his own blessed hand, using technology developed by the jihad fighters".


The authenticity both of the group and the announcement has not been verified - but it is the sense of self-confidence that it is sending out that is perhaps its key message.

It is similar to an advertisement recently put out on radical Islamist websites by a group called the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) - asking for applications for posts as video editors, writers and translators for a weekly TV bulletin presenting news from a jihadi perspective.

The GIMF aims to be a clearing-house for information from and about groups linked to al-Qaeda.

But despite the bravado shown by such recent announcements, analysts of jihadi sites on the internet say that recently many have gone unusually quiet - perhaps a sign of increased international pressure being put on them.


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