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May 13, 2016

Hezbollah Launches New Mobile App

UPDATE 5/14/16 – Apple has removed the app from iTunes.

Last month, al-Manar, Hezbollah’s media arm, which is listed as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity” by the U.S. government, launched Trust News, a new iPhone app. Available through the Apple online store iTunes, the app streams al-Manar’s live television broadcasts and newsand provides access to al-Manar’s social media platforms.It also provides the latest speeches of Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah.al-manar-trust-news-app

Unlike previous apps launched by the terrorist entity, the new app’s page on iTunes did not include any reference to al-Manar or Hezbollah, in an apparent attempt to circumvent Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines, which require apps to “comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users.”

Al-Manar’s website posted a link which directs its visitors to the iTunes store to download the mobile app.

ADL has alerted Apple about this new app.

ADL previously informed several US-based technology companies about apps launched by the terrorist entity and they were removed subsequently. For more information:

 

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October 22, 2014

Pro-Hezbollah Hackers Target Media Group For Its Position On Israel

On October 20, pro-Hezbollah hackers took control of the Twitter account of a prominent Lebanese Christian TV station, Murr Television, known as MTV Lebanon, because the station allegedly failed to describe Hamas combatants killed in the fighting with Israel as “martyrs.”mtv-lebanon-hacking-hezbollah

The hackers changed the Twitter account’s cover image to a photo of a Hezbollah fighter under a Hezbollah flag and tweeted a message from the account stating:

“[Only] when you learn the difference between a martyr and a killed [person], between an agent [of Israel] and a resistance fighter…. [Only] When you learn that Israel is the enemy, then your account will return to you. So we don’t forget Palestine.@MTVLebanonNews.”

While no group has claimed responsibility for the hacking, Hezbollah’s media arm,Al Manar, praised the attack in a report published yesterday that read in part, “For several hours today, the flag of Hezbollah kept waving over the public page of MTV twitter account.”

The hacking of MTV Lebanon and subsequent praising of it by Hezbollah’s media arm could represent a new tactic in the way terrorist groups in the Middle East attack their opponents online and spread their ideology to a wider audience. It does not appear that Hezbollah has previously endorsed cyber-attacks against its opponents.

ADL has tracked several hacking operations against Jewish and Israeli institutions by anti-Israel groups.

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September 12, 2014

Hezbollah Android App Re-Launched For The Third Time

Update – 9/19/14: In response to the removal of the app from the Google Play store, Al Manar posted a statement attributing the removal to a “campaign by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League” and promised to find “alternative ways to provide the application for Android phones.”

Update – 9/13/14: ADL alerted Google to the re-launched app on September 12. The app was removed from Google play later that day. ADL applauds Google’s response to Al-Manar’s repeated attempts to re-introduce this app. 

Last week, al-Manar, Hezbollah’s media arm which is listed as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity” by the U.S. government, launched an Android phone app through the Google Play online store providing mobile access to its satellite television station, also known as al-Manar.

Hezbollah's al-Manar app for android

Hezbollah’s al-Manar app for android

Al-Manar advertised the launch of the app on the landing page of its website. The announcement asked media network followers to install the app on their phones to receive al-Manar content and news, including high priority alerts.

This is the third time Hezbollah has launched an app with that function; the two prior apps were removed from Google Play. In July 2012, Al Manar first advertised its newly-launched application providing mobile access to its satellite TV. Available originally through Apple’s iTunes service, Apple soon removed the app for violating its terms of service. After the app was removed from iTunes, Hezbollah tried to re-launch it again for Android phones only, but the app was soon removed from Google Play as well. In March 2014 free mobile applications appeared on iTunes and Google Play to provide access to Al Manar programs via iPhone and Android smartphones once more.

Hezbollah has attempted to use mobile apps in other contexts as well.  In June 2014, Al Manar TVlaunched an online competition in time for the World Cup called “Expect and Win” that used the California-based instant messaging service WhatsApp.The competition called on users to submit predictions for which teams would win and offered prizes for selecting the winning teams. In January 2014, Al Manar started using WhatsAppto deliver “breaking news” via text messages to subscribers and to allow its supporters to interact with the station.  In February 2013, the military branch of Hezbollah, The Islamic Resistance (“Al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya”) provided a collection of free Farsi and Arabic language podcasts on iTunes. The podcasts promoted both the terrorist group’s and the Iranian regime’s militant propaganda.

Continuous attempts by the terrorist group to re-launch their smart phone app demonstrate their determination to exploit modern technology to broadcast messages of hate and terrorism to their supporters worldwide.

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