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Web Hosts Shut Down al-Qaida Sites

[01.02]

An al-Qaida related site was shut down Monday by Tampa, Florida-based Noc4Hosts after it received a call from a Tampa Tribute (tampatrib.com) reporter. Internet security specialist Paul Henry discovered the new al-Qaida encryption program hosted at alekhlaas.info.

On Wednesday, Phoenix, Arizona-based Web hosting provider CrystalTech Web Hosting (crystaltech.com) took down an al-Qaida website after being notified by The Arizona Republic (azcentral.com). The site was reportedly being used by al-Qaida to recruit car bombers, promote war on the West and provide a forum for Islamic militants.

The website, ek-is.org, offers forum discussions about weapons, explosives and propaganda, often playing out like a resource for terrorists, reports The Arizona Republic. The site contained video casts of an American tank being blown up, as well as messages from al-Qaida leaders and forums in which terrorist acts are openly discussed, says the Middle East Media Research Institute, a non-profit group in Washington, D.C. that tracks and translates Islamic websites.

CrystalTech president Bob Cichon said he was unaware of the site's content when the Web host posted the site earlier this week. Cichon says CrystalTech has no association with extremists or terrorists of any kind, and that his staff had no way to research the website since its content was entirely written in Arabic. And although the site has been taken down, it still has other domain names and Web hosts around the world that allow it to stay online using different Web addresses.

There have been several attempts by al-Qaida and other terrorist groups in recent years to promote their message using hosting providers in the United States.

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