The Internet in the service of terrorist organizations: the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Internet network and the service providers by which the organization is supported (updated to September 18, 2007).

Issued on: 23/09/2007 Type: Article

Overview

1. The PIJ is a relatively small radical Islamic terrorist organization sponsored by Iran and Syria and directed by its headquarters in Damascus . At the present time the PIJ is the most prominent organization in launching rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel . Since 2005 it has taken dominance from Hamas in carrying out deadly suicide bombing attacks in Tel Aviv, Hadera, Netanya and other population centers in Israel .

2. Like Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations, the PIJ makes extensive use of the Internet , which serves as one of its main weapons in the battle for hearts and minds . The PIJ's Internet network has six sites , four of them news-oriented and two devoted to the organization's founder and former leader, Fathi al-Shikaki , and to its present leader, Abdallah Ramadan Shalah. As opposed to Hamas, which appeals to world-wide audiences, the PIJ's target audiences are mainly Palestinians and Arabic-speakers. Thus, with the exception of one site, all the PIJ's sites are in Arabic, as opposed to the Hamas sites, which appear in eight languages.

3. Since it is a small organization, and it resources and manpower are limited, its Internet network is smaller and its technical level is lower than that of Hamas. 1However, during the past year the technology and content of its sites have improved . It offers more video clips, its design has been improved and it is updated more frequently.

4. All the PIJ's Websites send messages of hatred for Israel and the West, are rife with incitement to terrorism and foster the ideas of dying the death of a martyr for the sake of Allah ( shahadah ), committing suicide for the sake of Allah ( istishad ), and holy war ( jihad ). The messages it sends and its propaganda are in line with the PIJ's being a militant organization which regards the use of terrorism as the only way to advance its objectives, central to which is the destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of a radical Islamic state run in accordance with Islamic law throughout all the territory of "Palestine.”

5. Technically, the PIJ's Internet network is supported by ISPs located in Iran (which hosts Qudsway , the PIJ's main site), Malaysia (one site), Canada (one site) and the United States (three sites). 2 The pattern of having the main site Iranian and most of the others American has not changed since our previous examination, carried out in May 2006. That is true although the PIJ is clearly a terrorist organization and appears on the United States list of designated terrorist organizations. That provides an additional illustration that the Internet is the main medium through which the global jihad can spread its propaganda encouraging hatred and terrorism, and the radical Islamic ideology of the Palestinian terrorist organizations.

PIJ Websites classified according to content

6. The PIJ Websites fall into three groups :

A. News-oriented sites :

1) www.qudsway.net : the central site.

2) www.qudsnews.net : news site.

3) www.paltoday.com: new site appearing in both Arabic and English.

B. Designated sites : www.sarayaalquds.ps (and www.sarayalquds.org) : the site of the Jerusalem Battalions, the PIJ's terrorist operative wing.

C. Sites devoted to the PIJ leadership :

1 ) www.shikaki.net : site devoted to the memory of PIJ founder Fathi al-Shiqaqi.

2) www.falestiny.net : site devoted to organization leader Abdallah Ramadan Shalah.

7. Following is a description of the sites, as of September 18, 2007 :

Group A: News-oriented sites

www.qudsway.net

8. The site is called "The net of the call to Jerusalem ” and its Internet addresses are www.qudsway.net (or www.qudsway.com or www.qudsway.ir). It is the organization's most important site .

9. The site is updated regularly and focuses on organizational activities related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On July 25, 2007 , it was upgraded both technically and with regard to content.

10. The site has news flashes, articles (mostly dealing with the organization), interviews, commentaries, "studies” and links to the organization's other sites. It provides detailed reports about the organization's terrorist activities including announcements, claims of responsibility for terrorist attacks and the wills of shaheeds . 3The site also monitors the Israeli press. The organization's journal, called Jihad , can be reached through a link on the homepage.

11. Qudsway, like the PIJ's other sites, is rife with hate-propaganda against Israel and the West, fosters the shaheed myth (glorification of the suicide bombers and presenting them as role models) and praises violence and terrorism carried out in the name of jihad. Some examples follow:

The homepage's new design

The site's new homepage (August 12, 2007): At the upper left is a picture of Izzedine al-Qassam, a cleric of Syrian origin, who headed the uprising against the British in Samaria at the beginning of the 1930s, and who became a symbol of Hamas. At the upper right, next to the Dome of the Rock, there is a picture of Fathi al-Shikaki, who founded the organization. Between them is a verse from the Qur'an advocating jihad. "Those who struggle for our cause, surely We shall guide them in out ways; and Allah is with those who do good. (Surah Al-Ankabut, Verse 69).” 4

Glorifying suicide bombers and calling for jihad

A posting from July 30, 2007 : The "will” of the terrorist who carried out the suicide bombing attack in Eilat which killed three civilians on January 29, 2007 . 5 The will contains verses from the Qur'an supporting jihad for the sake of Allah. In it the suicide bomber calls for the jihad to continue.

Preaching the continuation of the "resistance” (violence and terrorism)

A posting from August 2007 whose headline reads "There is no legitimacy [for any path] except for the ‘resistance' [i.e., terrorism and violence against Israel ].” Part of the media war Hamas and the PIJ are waging against Salam Fayyad's government.

Jewish homes go up in flames in an illustration

Posting from September 16, 2007 . The picture shows models of Jewish houses going up in flames. Under the picture is a caption relating to an explosive device detonated near IDF soldiers west of the Sufa Crossing into the Gaza Strip.

Technical details

Internet address (IP): 217.218.0.123

ISP: Datacommunication Company of Iran , operating in Tehran . Also mentioned in the past as supporting Qudsway. 6 In our assessment, because of the site's importance, the PIJ prefers to have a permanent Iranian ISP to prevent pressure from being exerted on it and to ensure continuity.

www.qudsnews.net

12. Qudsnews is an important PIJ news site. It features announcements, cartoons, links to the organization's other Websites, news flashes, picture albums and claims of responsibility. It monitors the Israeli press daily (through a link called "the enemy press”). Some examples follow:

Encouraging violence and terrorism during Ramadan

The site's homepage ( September 16, 2007 ): A reference to a booklet entitled Ramadan is the Month of Jihad and Mujahada [carrying out jihad], encouragement for violence and terrorism during Ramadan, the Muslim's holiest month.

Glorifying terrorist operatives

The site's homepage ( September 16, 2007 ): The middle picture on the right is of terrorist operative Mustafa Atiq, and the caption reads: "Engineer of explosive devices, shaheed commander of the Jerusalem Battalions, [the shaheed] Mustafa Atiq.” The link leads to a posting praising him, giving his "will” and representing him as a hero and jihad warrior.

Link to the PIJ’s journal


A link from the home page to the PIJ's journal Al-Jihad.

Glorifying terrorist operatives


From the site's photo album ( September 16, 2006 ): pictures of the organization's shaheeds.

Encouraging rocket fire at Israel

A cartoon posted on the site ( August 12, 2007 ): the Arabic reads "al-saraya” ("the battalions,” that is, the Jerusalem Battalions, the PIJ's terrorist operative wing). One of the letters is an upraised fist from which rockets are launched (at Israel ).

Identifying with jihad warriors in Islamic countries

The upper picture is of Mirfat Amin Masoud, a PIJ terrorist operative, who blew herself up near an IDF force in the Gaza Strip on November 6, 2006. The link leads to her "will,” in which she calls upon "all the jihad warriors in every place from Iraq to Chechnya , from Palestine to Afghanistan , follow the path of ‘resistance' and Allah will bless you...”

Glorifying suicide bombers

Pictures of PIJ shaheeds. The bottom picture is of the suicide bomber who carried of the attack in Eilat. The link leads to more information, including his "will.” The page glorifies jihad for the sake of Allah and death as a martyr for the sake of Allah, which assures eternal life in paradise.

Technical details

Internet address (IP): 202.190.203.201

ISP: Jaring Communications Sdn Bhd , Malaysia

www.paltoday.com

13. PalToday is an important PIJ news site, although its identity is not specifically stated on the site. It is updated continually, and includes news flashes in real time and, more recently, video clips. It monitors the Israeli media daily, and occasionally the international media as well. It has both Arabic and English versions , which are not identical. The English version emphasizes defaming Israel and reports terrorist attacks. Some examples follow: 

Boasting about launching rockets at children


PalToday reports on the rockets fired at Sderot ( September 2, 2007 )

Poster praising a suicide bomber

A PIJ poster reading "Today the Palestinian [communications] network joyously accompanies the heroic suicide bomber 7 as it would a bridegroom, the son of the Jerusalem Battalions who carried out the heroic action in Eilat, Muhammad Faisal al-Siqsiq, on his way to the black-eyed virgins waiting for him in paradise” (PalToday, January 30, 2007).

Praise for the rocket that fell on the Zikim basic training camp

[Caption] The site's homepage ( September 16, 2007 ): The headline at the right reads "Although a number of days have passed, the heroic action at Zikim is still the topic of the hour” (a reference to the PIJ rocket which fell on the Zikim basic training camp, wounding 50 IDF soldiers). 8

Report of rocket fire at Israel

The site's homepage ( August 12, 2007 ): The main posting is a report on Al-Quds rockets (rockets in PIJ possession) fired at Israel . The PIJ currently fires most of the rockets at Israel aimed, in most cases, at population centers in the western Negev .

The English homepage

The English homepage ( September 16, 2007 ): the site focuses on defaming Israel and reporting on terrorist attacks carried out against it.


A link on the English page to the PIJ's Al-Quds Radio.
Clicking on it enables the surfer to listen to the radio in real time.

Technical details

Internet address (IP): 72.232.29.138

Group B: Designated sites of the Jerusalem Battalions 

www.sarayaalquds.ps/www.sarayaalquds.ps 9

14. This is the Website of the Jerusalem Battalions, the PIJ's terrorist operative wing. It offers many video clips (a recent innovation) and audio recordings related to the organization's activities, especially the documentation of terrorist activities against Israel . Some examples follow: 

The "will” of the terrorists who attacked the IDF post north of Kissufim


The site's homepage ( September 10, 2007 ): The "will” of the terrorists
who tried to infiltrate Israeli territory to attack an IDF post or patrol north of Kissufim. 10

Documenting terrorist attacks


The site's homepage ( September 16, 2007 ).
Left: a video documenting PIJ terrorist activities.

Technical details

Internet address (IP): 66.49.210.219

ISP: Canaca-com Inc., Canada

Group C: Sites devoted to the PIJ leadership

www.shikaki.net

15. The official PIJ Website dedicated to the memory of the organization's founder, Fathi al-Shikaki, who died in Malta in 1995. It is mostly composed of texts documenting his deeds and sayings. The material does not change, and deals with his ideology, which favors a jihad against Israel and identifies with the Islamic Revolution in Iran .

16. The following is an excerpt from one of his speeches in favor of suicide bombing attacks, which is a permanent part of the Website: "Oh, those who go to their fine deaths...we follow your path, after you showed us by dying as martyrs [for the sake of Allah] the way to the next stage. Carrying out suicide bombing attacks on the soil of Lebanon and along the northern border of Palestine [from the Hezbollah side] is a fine Islamic reaction, opposed by the technology of the imperialist [i.e., Israel] and its monstrous equipment, both helpless.”


The site's homepage

Technical details

Internet address (IP): 70.86.84.122

ISP: The Planet.com Internet Services, USA .

www.falestiny.net

17. The site is dedicated to the movement's leader, Abdallah Ramadan Shalah . Previously its address was www.rabdullah.net, which is no longer operative. The site features information about Abdallah Ramadan Shalah, his speeches, remarks, lectures, interviews and pictures. It reveals his radical Islam ideology, including hate-propaganda against Israel .


The site's homepage.

Technical details

Internet address (IP): 67.18.114.106

ISP: The Planet.com Internet Services, USA


1 For further information see our August 1, 2007 Bulletin entitled "The Internet as a battleground used by the terrorist organizations” .

2 The data about ISPs by which the PIJ is supported are based on the Hagana and Whois Websites. Details about the companies appear below.

3 A terrorist operative who fell in battle for the sake of Allah within the context of a holy war (jihad) is called a shaheed . According to classic Muslim tradition, one of his many rewards is 72 black-eyed virgins waiting to marry him in paradise. For further information see our December 25, 2005 Bulletin entitled "Suicide bombing terrorism during the current Israeli-Palestinian confrontation (September 2000 – December 2005)”

4 The translation is based – with minor changes – on Arthur J. Arberry, The Qoran Interpreted (London: Oxford University Press, 1964), p. 410.

5 For further information see our January 31, 2007 Bulletin entitled "The Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah elements in the Gaza Strip dispatched a terrorist who carried out a suicide bombing attack in Eilat” .

6 For further information see our May 24, 2006 Bulletin entitled "Palestinian Islamic Jihad Internet sites and their Internet providers” .

7 Istishhadi in the original, that is, someone who knowingly sacrifices his life for the sake of Allah and dies the death of a martyr for the sake of Allah.

8 For further information see our September 11, 2007 Bulletin entitled "A rocket fired at the northern Negev on the night of September 10 hit the IDF base at Zikim, wounding 50 soldiers” .

9 On September 19, 2007 , the site stopped functioning. It is reasonable to assume it will reappear, possibly under a different address.

10 For further information see our September 10, 2007 Bulletin entitled "Yet another attempt to infiltrate Israel from the Gaza Strip” .

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