Following a week of mass shootings and hostage-taking by radical Islamic terrorists in France, the hacktivist group Anonymous has declared war against jihadist groups responsible and has vowed to attack them online.
After 12 were left dead Wednesday at the offices of French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and two hostage situations ended in shootings around the city on Friday, an upload to Anonymous’ Belgian YouTube account promised a response to “al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and other terrorists,” according to the post’s description. Watch the video.
“‘We are declaring war against you, the terrorists,” a representative for the group said. The speaker, whose voice is electronically distorted, sported the group’s signature Guy Fawkes mask.
“Freedom of expression has suffered inhuman assault … it is our duty to react … we wish to express our condolences to the families of the victims of this cowardly and despicable act,” a second reported correspondence from the group read on filesharing site Pastebin.
“We will fight always and everywhere the enemies of freedom of expression … freedom of expression and opinion is a non-negotiable thing. To tackle it is to attack democracy. Expect a massive frontal reaction from us because the struggle for the defense of those freedoms is the foundation of our movement.”
The mission, given the hashtag “#OpCharlieHebdo,” first aims to cripple jihadist websites.
Anonymous made headlines as recently as Christmas, as hackers claiming affiliation with the group took credit for the disruption of live gaming networks for Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s XBox consoles. The attack also claimed to leak customer credit card info for affiliated console apps like Amazon and Netflix.
As for the citizens of France, President Francois Hollande applauds their resilience.
“France faced up to this,” Hollande said on Thursday “First of all, I express all my solidarity to the families of the victims of the wounded, but France faced up to it, because when she overcomes a hardship, a tragedy for the nation, and this is an obligation for us to face up to it.”