Hamas military wing’s Twitter account shut down
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Hamas military wing’s Twitter account shut down

Palestinian terror group blames pressure from 'Zionist groups'

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Palestinian members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement during the funeral of group member Ahmed al-Zahar in the village of Al-Moghraga near the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, February 3, 2016. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)
Palestinian members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement during the funeral of group member Ahmed al-Zahar in the village of Al-Moghraga near the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, February 3, 2016. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

The Twitter account of Hamas’s military wing was shut down without warning Monday night, according to a statement from the Gaza-based terror group.

The manager of the account said in a statement posted to the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades’ website that “Twitter closed the page following pressure by Zionist groups.”

At the time of its closing, according to the account’s manager, the account had over 140,000 followers and reached 5 million tweet impressions in recent months.

Twitter also shut down the English-language Twitter account of the Qassam Brigades earlier in March, according to the group’s statement.

It wasn’t the first time that Twitter accounts associated with Hamas’s military wing have been shut down by the social media site.

During the 45-day war between Hamas and Israel in the summer of 2014, Twitter shut down all of the group’s official accounts. However, almost immediately, the Qassam Brigades began operating new accounts.

Rather than open a new account this time, Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida urged the 194,308 followers of his own account on Tuesday to follow a separate Twitter handle operated by the terror group that has been less active in recent months.

The terror group’s Twitter handle was used to publish internal news about the organization, such as when its members died in training accidents, and also to call for and praise attacks against Israeli civilians.

Twitter has been making efforts over the last two years to prevent terrorist organizations from spreading their messages through the service. The social media giant, however, has come under fire for its inability to prevent the terror groups, among them the Islamic State, from simply opening new accounts.

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