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Thousands of Twitter accounts hacked with Turkish-language tweets with Nazi Swastikas

The same Turkish-language tweets with a Nazi swastika followed by the hashtags #Nazialmanya and #Nazihollanda have been posted by the hijacked accounts

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The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Oct. 27, 2016. VOA
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London, March 15, 2017: Thousands of Twitter accounts, including high-profile ones belonging to Forbes, Amnesty International and the BBCs North American service, were compromised on Wednesday, resulting in them tweeting propaganda related to Turkeys escalating diplomatic conflict with Germany and the Netherlands.

The hijacked accounts have all posted the same Turkish-language tweets with a Nazi swastika followed by the hashtags #Nazialmanya and #Nazihollanda (#NaziGermany and #NaziHolland).
The text after the hashtags reads: “This gives you a little #OttomanSlap,” and makes reference to April 16th — the day Turkey will hold a referendum on constitutional changes that would consolidate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s power and potentially allow him to remain in office through 2029.

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The tweets also include a link to a pro-Erdogan video on YouTube.

The attackers also changed profile pictures and header images for some targets, changing the main image to a Turkish flag and the profile picture to a Turkish-style coat of arms, reported the Guardian.

Several users noted that all hijacked tweets appear to have been linked to Twitter Counter, a Netherlands-based analytics application.

Twitter Counter was previously targeted in a November 2016 attack that caused some high-profile accounts to spread spam. At the time, the company said it has over 2 million users.

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The attack comes amid heightened tensions between Turkeyand the Netherlands, after the Dutch government barred two Turkish ministers from speaking to expatriates in the Netherlandsahead of the referendum.

In response, Erdogan accused the Dutch government of acting like “Nazi remnants”, and Turkeysuspended high-level diplomatic relations with the Netherlandson Tuesday. Erdogan also accused Germany of behaving “like Nazis” after the government banned Turkish rallies ahead of the referendum.

Forbes, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, the UK Department of Health, Reuters Japan, BBC North America, Duke University and Amnesty International were all affected among several other charities and universities.

BBC North America confirmed that it had been caught up on the hack, tweeting: “Hi everyone – we temporarily lost control of this account, but normal service has resumed. Thanks.”

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In a statement, Twitter said that it was “aware of an issue affecting a number of account holders this morning. Our teams are working at pace and taking direct action on this issue. We quickly located the source which was limited to a third party app. We removed its permissions immediately. No additional accounts are impacted. (IANS)

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Catalan Former Leader Faces Extradition Threat Again

Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday faced fresh threats of extradition from Germany, where a regional prosecutor's office has requested that he be sent to Spain to face charges of rebellion.

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Activists protest with a giant Catalan flag
Activists protest with a giant Catalan flag during a mass rally against Catalonia's declaration of independence, in Barcelona, Spain. VOA

Catalonia’s former leader Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday faced fresh threats of extradition from Germany, where a regional prosecutor’s office has requested that he be sent to Spain to face charges of rebellion.

The Spanish judiciary had sent new documents to German authorities regarding the charges being issued against Puigdemont, meaning the Schleswig-Holstein regional prosecution has requested that an extradition request issued by Spain be considered again by courts, sources from the prosecutor’s office told Efe news.

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The regional court had previously refused to extradite Puigdemont on rebellion charges and was studying whether to hand him over to Spain to face trial over alleged misuse of public funds.

Puigdemont is wanted in Spain for an investigation into possible rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for his alleged role in Catalonia’s separatist referendum and subsequent declaration of independence, deemed unconstitutional by the Spanish judiciary.

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He fled to Belgium before he could be arrested but was later detained in Germany. (IANS)