Security Experts:

Israeli Websites Targeted in Major Cyber Attack

Many Israeli websites were hit by a coordinated cyber attack Thursday, with the home pages replaced by images of the country's commercial capital Tel Aviv in flames.

Israel's National Cyber Directorate said private companies using a particular operating system were targeted, but said the damage was "superficial".

It did not state the number of pages targeted but Israeli media reported it was more than 1,000, including those of major firms.

The pages were replaced with the slogan "the countdown to the destruction of Israel started long ago".

A link led to a computer-generated video of Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities on fire, seemingly after a series of attacks. 

There were no immediate details on the group which claimed the attack called Hackers of Saviour.

The attack came a day before Israelis celebrate Jerusalem Day -- signifying the country's capture of the eastern part of the disputed city in 1967.

Iran, Israel's long-time rival, also commemorates the day but highlights the Palestinian and Muslim connection to the holy city.

Their animosity has flared in a war of words on Twitter.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently attacked Israel's founding ideology Zionism, charging that Zionists have "been acting like a cancerous tumour, furthering their goals by massacring children, women and men".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu replied Wednesday evening, saying Khamenei "should know that any regime that threatens Israel with extermination will find itself in similar danger".

The attack on Israeli websites came days after a cyber attack on computer systems at an Iranian port was blamed on Israel.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an eight-hour visit to Israel last week, during which he accused Iran of using its resources to "foment terror" even as its people face the Middle East's deadliest novel coronavirus outbreak. 

Pompeo also tweeted that "the United States condemns Supreme Leader Khamenei's disgusting and hateful anti-Semitic remarks. 

"They have no place on Twitter or on any other social media platform."

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