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Iraq suffers Internet outage amid turmoil

Iraq has suffered a major Internet outage due to the increasing turmoil spreading throughout the North and East of the country by the extremist Sunni militant group ISIS.

As tensions increase in Iraq, measurements from the RIPE NCC, one of the five Regional Internet Registries that support the operation of the Internet, show that there was a partial outage in the country early this morning.

Emile Aben of NCC said: "Shortly after 6am Iraqi local time we saw 4 of the 38 networks in Iraq go down. One of these networks was Earthlink, a major ISP serving the Baghdad area. The networks were restored just before 9am. There are a number of potential causes for this kind of outage, but given the increasing tensions we can only speculate at this point if this was deliberate interference with communication, or consequence of the current conflict between government forces and insurgents."

As well as these apparently accidental outages, the Iraqi government has taken some emergency blocking measures, stopping access to particular services like Facebook and Twitter in various Iraqi cities. There is at least some evidence suggesting that ISIS have been using social media to coordinate attacks.

This tactic, known as "moving up the stack" has been used to shut down particular Web services at the local provider level, and has been used in other countries like Syria.

Rawaz Rauf, a commercial and regulatory advisor at Fanoos Telecom, tweeted last night that "95% of Internet is down across Kirkuk and Mosul, the little that remains is through VSAT connection".

He earlier tweeted that "We have shut down maxnet Internet service in Kirkuk and Mosul due Commincations [sic] and Media Commision Request".

The radical islamists of ISIS have been making significant gains in IRaq over the past week,