PARIS — French television network TV5Monde has said it had been hacked by individuals claiming to belong to the Islamic State group, bringing television broadcasts to a halt and taking over its websites and Facebook page.
"We are no longer able to broadcast any of our channels. Our websites and social media sites are no longer under our control and are all displaying claims of responsibility by Islamic State," the broadcaster's director general Yves Bigot said on Wednesday.
The hackers posted documents on TV5Monde's Facebook page purporting to be the identity cards and CVs of relatives of French soldiers involved in anti-IS operations, along with threats against the troops.
The attack began at around 10pm (2000 GMT), but the global French-language broadcaster appeared to have regained control of its Facebook page by midnight and TV broadcasts by 1am on Thursday. Its websites were still offline, however, displaying an "under maintenance" message to visitors.
"Soldiers of France, stay away from the Islamic State! You have the chance to save your families, take advantage of it," read one message on TV5Monde's Facebook page. "The CyberCaliphate continues its cyberjihad against the enemies of Islamic State," the message added.
It also accused French President Francois Hollande of having committed "an unforgivable mistake" by getting involved in "a war that serves no purpose." "That's why the French received the gifts of Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher in January," it said, referring to the twin attacks by Islamist gunmen in Paris that left 17 people dead over three days and deeply shocked France.
France is part of a US-led military coalition carrying out air strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria, where the jihadist group has seized swathes of territory in recent months and declared an Islamic "caliphate". Paris-based TV5Monde is broadcast in more than 200 countries worldwide. — AFP