Hackers target Bahrain airport, news sites to mark uprising

FILE – Anti-government protesters wave Bahraini flags and gesture as they participate in a rally and march Friday, Nov. 25, 2011, that drew tens of thousands to Maqsha, Bahrain. Hackers said they had taken down the website of Bahrain’s international airport on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, to mark the 12-year anniversary of an Arab Spring uprising in the small Gulf country. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Hackers said they had taken down the websites of Bahrain’s international airport and state news agency on Tuesday to mark the 12-year anniversary of an Arab Spring uprising in the small Gulf country.

A statement posted online by a group calling itself Al-Toufan, or “The Flood” in Arabic, claimed to have hacked the airport website, which was unavailable for at least a half hour in the middle of the day. It also claimed to have taken down the website of the state-run Bahrain News Agency, which was sporadically unavailable.

The group posted images showing 504 Gateway Timeout Errors, saying the hacking was “in support of the revolution of our oppressed people of Bahrain.”

The same group appears to have hacked and changed articles on the website of Akhbar Al Khaleej, a pro-government newspaper in Bahrain, hours earlier. The newspaper’s website was still down Tuesday.

There was no immediate comment from authorities.

Feb. 14, 2011, marked the first day of protests led by Bahrain’s Shiite majority against the Sunni monarchy. Bahrain ultimately quashed the uprising by force with the support of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but has continued to see sporadic unrest over the years.

Authorities have imprisoned Shiite activists, deported others, stripped hundreds of their citizenship and closed down a leading independent newspaper.

The same shadowy group of hackers targeted government websites during elections held in November that were boycotted by a banned Shiite opposition group and others.

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