Middle East

'Hackers' cut Palestinian phone and internet systems

Palestinian flag at protest near Erez crossing between Israel and northern Gaza Strip. 5 Oct 2011
Image caption Palestinian business will be badly affected by a lengthy loss of access to the phone and internet

The main phone network in the West Bank and Gaza has suffered a sustained attack by computer hackers, the Palestinian Authority (PA) says.

It says most of the Palestinian territory has lost internet service.

PA spokesman Ghassan Ghattib said the attacks started in the morning and came from multiple sources around the world.

He said he did not know if the hacking was linked to the Palestinian leadership's successful bid to get membership of Unesco on Monday.

The move by the UN's cultural and scientific organisation was strongly criticised by Israel and the United States.

The US immediately announced it was cutting off all of its funding to UN body.

Prolonged lack of access to the internet would prove costly to many Palestinian businesses.

The PA says the crash has been caused by computer hackers sabotaging the Paltel telephone network. Engineers are working to resolve the problem.