AN EVEN MORE UP-TO-DATE UPDATE: Aqsatube is down again. Reuven Erlich of the Terrorism Information Center tells me “they seem to be having trouble, we might be making their lives harder.”
Watch this space.
UPDATE: AqsaTube is back online; and has found a new service provider
The full report from the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center is here.
Its renewed appearance was enabled by the support of a Russian Internet company called 2X4.ru network , after it had been dropped by the French company OVH following a BBC News query. This is not the first time Russian companies have provided technical services for Hamas websites.
Here’s the original story from last week:
Just got word that AqsaTube has been taken offline by its French service provider OVH.
After I asked Google for a response to the story, they took their AdSense program off AqsaTube.
According to the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, AqsaTube was listed under the name of Abu Nasser Skandar from Dubai , and its Internet service provider was the French firm, OVH.
OVH wouldn’t respond to my emails, but they did apparently respond to the BBC.
And today, the BBC reports that AqsaTube is gone:
“OVH initially denied hosting AqsaTube, but later confirmed that the website had been hosted by them and had now been taken offline.”
According to Alexa traffic statistics, most AqsaTube users came from Saudi Arabia, followed by Iraq and Germany.
According to the statistics, there were more AqsaTube users in Israel than the Palestinian territories.
BBC reports that Godaddy.com also lists business information for AqsaTube, including a PO Box number in Dubai and a mobile phone number, which was answered by a man who said he was an Indian builder in Dubai.
He appeared to know little about the internet and nothing about Palestinian militant movements.
Reuven Ehrlich, the head of the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, who first alerted me to this story, is elated: “Israel can’t fight Jihadi websites themselves, but it can fight their service providers.”
Noah Shachtman reports that, “This is the second time in a little more than a month that an extremist video distribution network has been taken offline. The al-Ekhlaas network of sites had long been a primary distributor of videos from al-Sahab, al-Qaida’s propaganda arm. Then, on Sept. 11, al-Ekhlaas.net was suddenly re-registered. All of its content vanished. As in the case of the al-Ekhlaas takedown, militant forums blamed Western intelligence agencies for the unplugging of AqsaTube. But it appears a little sunlight may have done the trick, instead.”