Anti-Israeli hackers brought down several government websites in Azerbaijan, Israel's
main Muslim ally.
The culprits on Monday broke into websites belonging to the formerly-Soviet country's Interior and Communications ministries, its governing party and the constitutional court, leaving threats and anti-Israeli messages.
They substituted the Interior Ministry's homepage with an image of the devil looming over a photograph of President Shimon Peres
shaking hands with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev.
"You are servants of the Jews," said a message on the governing party's site, threatening Aliyev with the fate of the deposed leaders of Tunisia,
The attack came on the same day as a series of cyber attacks
that targeted Israeli sites, including the ones belonging to El Al and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Officials in Azerbaijan called the attack an assault on the country's leader and launched an investigation.
"These are forces that are scared of Azerbaijan," leading governing party lawmaker Mubariz Gurbanli told AFP.
"Specialists are now working to identify the places and people who did this."
Azerbaijani MP Aydin Mirzazadeh dismissed the possibility that the attack is just a provocation, the Trend news agency reported Monday.
"A list of hacked websites shows that it was done on purpose and aimed at disabling state, government and authoritative websites of Azerbaijan," Mirzazadeh said.
Mirzazadeh added that the attacks were politically motivated.
"The attack primarily meant to cast a shadow on the rising image of Azerbaijan. Someone is not happy with the development of Azerbaijan and its successes… However, their attempts are doomed to fail," he said.
Energy-rich Azerbaijan has friendly ties with Israel based on the export of oil and the import of weapons and military technology.