Hackers interrupt Israeli Eurovision webcast with faked explosions

Hackers interrupt Israeli Eurovision webcast with faked explosions

The European song contest kicked off in the Israeli capital Tel Aviv on Tuesday amid the reported deployment of the country's Iron Dome anti-rocket systems.

An Israeli webcast of the first Eurovision semi-final has been hacked to show faked explosions in host city Tel Aviv.

Contestants from Australia, Iceland, Greece, Belarus, Serbia, Cyprus, Estonia, Czech Republic, San Marino and Slovenia moved ahead after all participating nations announced their selections, which are divided between a professional jury and phone-in viewers.

Madonna landed in Tel Aviv Tuesday night, defying calls by pro-Palestinian activists for her to boycott the global song competition hosted by Israel.

"At a certain point, there was a takeover - apparently by Hamas - of our digital broadcast", KAN chief Eldad Koblenz said Wednesday.

Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, had no immediate comment.

"I'm happy to say that within a matter of minutes we managed to overcome the attack", he said in an interview with Israeli army radio.

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At least 25 Palestinians and four Israelis were killed before a ceasefire agreement was signed between Gaza and Israel.

Some pro-Palestinian activists have called for performers and worldwide broadcasters to boycott the show due to Israel being the host nation.

Those who win through to Saturday's final will join host Israel and the so-called "big five" of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - all of whom are entitled to skip the elimination rounds.

Tel Aviv was designated the host city after Israeli singer Netta Barzilai won in Portugal a year ago. The second semi-final is on Thursday.

"I'll never stop playing music to suit someone's political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be", Madonna said in a statement to Reuters.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from the rally, said: "For the activists here, it [the protest] coincides with the first anniversary of the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and the border protest that took place in Gaza on the same day when more than 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli sniper fire". Just like South Africa, time to boycott apartheid.

Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry on Sunday launched a public relations campaign aiming to counter BDS efforts by buying up Google ads ostensibly supporting a boycott but that actually link to a pro-Israel website.

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