Europol launches international operation to tackle online extremism

Ten countries have joined forces with Europol to disrupt the online propaganda activities of religious and politically motivated terrorist organisations.

This joint effort, known as Operation Hopper II, targets key assets in the online dissemination of terrorist propaganda.

The operation specifically targeted terrorist-operated websites used to disseminate terrorist propaganda, which limits the ability of terrorist organisations to recruit, radicalise and mobilise recruiters online.

Last week (14 June), Europol referred a total of 13 websites spreading terrorist propaganda to hosting service providers for removal. This followed the seizure of four servers in Romania, Ukraine and Iceland over the course of the investigation and the removal of associated websites.

The referral of websites operated by terrorists, violent extremists and their supporters will continue as new copycat domains are likely to emerge.

This operation was coordinated by the European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) within Europol’s European Counter Terrorism Centre. 

It involved law enforcement authorities from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Moldova, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Europol said it is "a crucial part of the EU IRU’s ongoing work against websites operated by terrorists and violent extremists".

These websites enable terrorist organisations and violent extremists to bypass the enhanced moderation and content removal efforts of mainstream online service providers, allowing them to maintain a persistent online presence.


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