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Anonymous hits UK government websites in Assange protest


Computer hacking collective Anonymous says it has attacked government websites in retaliation for the UK's handling of the Julian Assange case.

It claimed responsibility on Twitter for the denial-of-service attacks.

Websites affected include the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office.

The Wikileaks founder is staying at Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex assault claims, which he denies. He was granted asylum by the country last week.

He has been at the embassy since June and on Sunday addressed crowds of his supporters from the embassy's balcony, thanking Ecuador and other South American countries for their support.

The UK has insisted it is obliged to extradite Mr Assange, 41, and wants a "diplomatic solution", making clear that Assange will be arrested if he leaves the embassy.

But Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said the UK would be committing diplomatic "suicide" if it tried to enter his country's embassy.

Meanwhile, Swedish prosecutors told the BBC they remain determined to question Mr Assange in Sweden, rejecting a suggestion from Mr Correa that prosecutors could travel to London to question Mr Assange.

Anonymous, a loose collective of computer hackers, has gained notoriety by launching denial-of-service attacks, which flood websites with requests, causing them to operate more slowly or fail, on international government and corporate websites since 2010.

The latest attacks were launched on Monday and most of the affected websites appear to be operating normally now.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice website said it "had been experiencing some disruption".

A later statement said: "The Ministry of Justice website was the subject of an online attack last night at around 20:00 BST.

"This is a public information website and no sensitive data is held on it. No other Ministry of Justice systems have been affected.

"Measures put in place to keep the website running mean that some visitors may be unable to access the site intermittently."

"We will continue to monitor the situation and will take measures accordingly."



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