According to a spokesman for RGB media, the company hosting the TOI website and their partners, the attack occurred just after 2 p.m. Israeli time or 8 a.m. eastern standard time.
“There was a penetration into our systems,” the spokesman said. “All info is guarded, backed up and safe, we will have a splash page installed very soon and we are working to localize the penetration. After that we will relaunch the sites that are down.”
On Thursday, the site’s homepage featured an image of children waving a Turkish flag and a line in Turkish that vowed to protect “Palestine” and Gaza.
Below the image was a verse from the Quran that read “And we shaded you with clouds and sent down to you manna and quails, [saying], “Eat from the good things with which We have provided you.” And they wronged Us not – but they were only wronging themselves.” The verse was written in Turkish, Arabic and English.
The page was signed by the group Akincilar, that hacked multiple Dutch websites earlier this year after Turkey and the Netherlands had a political falling-out in the wake of Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s controversial referendum win.
The attack occurred on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the first public statement from the British government that announced it supported the establishment of a Jewish state in then-Palestine.
The same Turkish group also targeted Hillels of Georgia’s website in March of 2015. The group calls itself a nationalist Turkish organization and strikes from time to time to fight “injustice, oppression and war with all our might.”
As of 4:08 p.m. eastern time, the Times of Israel and all three partner websites were back to normal.