Cairo: The website of a Egyptian pro-government newspaper was briefly crippled on Monday due to purported Moroccan hacking.
The portal of the liberal Al Wafd newspaper, known for backing President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, broke down for more than an hour after what its editors said was a cyber-attack launched by an anonymous hacker calling himself ‘’The Moroccan Deterrence Force”.
The hacker said the attack was due to what he said was a “truncated” map carried by Al Wafd on several occasions of Morocco and alleged bias by the Egyptian media to Algeria against Morocco.
The Western Sahara is at the centre of a decades-long dispute between Morocco and the Algeian-backed Polisario Front. Al Sissi visited Algeria last year weeks after he took office in June.
“Morocco is a sovereign country, which is not concerned about Egypt or Algeria,” the alleged hacker said in a statement.
Egyptian-Moroccan relations were briefly strained last yer after a show host on an Egyptian private TV station criticized King Mohammad VI of Morocco for installing an Islamist government. The host also claimed that Morocco’s economy was based on ‘’prostitution”. The broadcaster sacked the anchor, who later made an apology.
Tensions re-surfaced last week after Moroccan state television aired a report, calling Al Sissi a “leader of the coup”. In summer-2013, Al Sissi, the then army chief, led the overthrow of Islamist resident Mohammad Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood following enormous street protests against his rule.
Editor of Al Wafd portal, Majdi Helmy, accused Morocco’s Muslim Brotherhoood of standing behind the cyber-attack. “This is because of the stories posted on the portal although we are always objective in our reporting,” Helmy said.
“The portal was able to resume normal operation a short time after the hacking bid occurred.”