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Anonymous goes to war with ISIS over Paris attacks

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In the wake of ISIS' coordinated attacks on Paris Friday night that left 129 civilians dead and scores more injured, the loosely-affiliated hacker collective known as Anonymous announced Sunday the launch of a massive cyber-campaign, dubbed #OPParis, designed to scrub the terrorist organization's influence from the internet while French airstrikes wipe ISIS strongholds off the map. "We can not fight them with guns and rifles," an Anonymous spokesperson told the BBC, "stopping their propaganda is an effective way to weaken their manpower and their presence in the Internet."

The announcement came via YouTube, though the video itself has since been removed. In it, a self-described Anonymous member wearing the group's signature Guy Fawkes mask stated, in French, that "Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down. Expect massive cyber attacks. War is declared. Get prepared." The speaker goes on to promise "we will launch the biggest operation ever against you."

Anonymous has spent more than a decade hacking government, corporate and religious websites. However, after January's Charlie Hebdo massacre, Anonymous set its sights on fighting extremists online. In response to Hebdo, the collective compiled a list of more assembled than 39,000 Twitter accounts of ISIS sympathizers and claim to have had at least 25,000 of them suspended. "The propaganda of ISIS is based on advertising their actions," an Anonymous spokesperson explained to the BBC. "They want to strike terror with their name, with bloody images, with violent videos. Disrupting their communications makes it difficult to organise their attacks in a fluid manner."

With the launch of #OPParis, Anonymous plans to "identify the perpetrators of the Paris terror attacks and all terrorist organisations linked to them," the spokesperson explained, "acquire intel to dig deep into the roots of their manpower, disable their propaganda and stop their reach on social media." To that end, Anonymous announced Tuesday that it had already gotten another 5,500 accounts booted from the social site.

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