FILE - In this Jan.23 2018 file photo, a French solider watches code lines on his computer at the French Defense ministry stand during the International Cybersecurity forum in Lille, northern France. Police in Europe and North America have seized servers and data from Islamic State propaganda outlets in a multi-country operation aimed at tracking down radicals and crimping the group’s ability to spread its violent message. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)

Servers used by Islamic State propaganda sites seized in Canada

Europe and U.S. also part of two-day operation aimed at tracking down radicals

Police in Europe, the United States and Canada have seized servers and data from Islamic State propaganda outlets in a multi-country operation aimed at tracking down radicals and crimping the group’s ability to spread its violent message.

The two-day operation was the culmination of efforts started in late 2015, after co-ordinated IS attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, according to a statement from European police agency Europol.

RELATED: Two killed, dozen hurt in French supermarket hostage-taking

Police notably targeted the IS-branded Aamaq news agency, as well as al-Bayan radio, and Halumu and Nasher news sites.

Aamaq spreads information online in at least nine languages and has been used to claim IS was behind attacks in multiple countries, from the 2016 nightclub attack in Florida to a deadly supermarket hostage-taking in southern France last month.

The operation was led by Belgian prosecutors and also involved authorities in the U.S., Canada, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Romania.

While Europol said the operation “punched a big hole in the capability of IS to spread propaganda online and radicalize young people in Europe,” it didn’t shut down the propaganda altogether.

For example, Nasher continued to share IS statements and Aamaq reports Friday through channels on encrypted messaging network Telegram.

Related: ISIS takes responsibility for Barcelona terror attack

The Islamic State group has used sophisticated and ever-changing communications tools to spread its apocalyptic message to disillusioned Muslims living in the West, to persuade them to reject Western ideals of pluralism and tolerance. High-quality videos, complete with thrumming beats and slick editing techniques, have unlimited reach thanks to social networks. Extremists with gentle American accents narrate radio broadcasts aimed at U.S. internet users.

European authorities involved in the operation Wednesday and Thursday said it showed the importance of international co-operation in fighting online radicalization, which has helped fuel deadly attacks in multiple countries in Europe and the U.S.

It aimed “to destabilize this apparatus by seizing and dismantling servers used to diffuse IS propaganda and to identify and arrest its administrators,” the Belgian public prosecutor’s office said.

Two prior international police operations, notably targeting Aamaq’s mobile app and web infrastructure, paved the way for this week’s raids. One led by Spain’s Civil Guard that seized servers in Panama allowed authorities to identify radicals in 133 countries via their interaction with IS propaganda, according to Europol and a Civil Guard statement.

The operation came as more than 70 countries vowed to bolster efforts to stop financing for IS and al-Qaida. Participants at an international conference in Paris on Thursday promised to improve international co-ordination and transparency of money flows.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: North Island female minor hockey jamboree a big success story

“Success is measured by the smiles on the players’ faces, not by the scoreboard.”

FOLLOW-UP: Shelley Downey speaks on her Conservative candidacy

“I anticipate requesting a leave of absence from Port McNeill council,” Downey said.

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

VIDEO: North Island female minor hockey jamboree a big success story

“Success is measured by the smiles on the players’ faces, not by the scoreboard.”

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles show ‘true grit’ in back to back wins over Powell River Kings

“We showed some real grit digging down deep for the two points.”

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

Most Read