Reports: Hackers hit Vatican website over 'genocide' comment

Reports: Hackers hit Vatican website over 'genocide' comment
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Turkish hackers reportedly hit the Vatican’s website on Monday evening after Pope Francis referred to the mass killings of Armenians by Turks as a “genocide.”

Vatican.va was knocked offline by a denial-of-service attack on Monday night, according to reports, but restored by Tuesday morning. A Turkish hacker on Twitter took credit for the hit, demanding that the pope retract his comments.

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It is not the first time the Vatican has been targeted by hackers. Anonymous, the international hacking collective, took down the Catholic church’s main website as well as Vatican Radio in 2012.

The latest cyberattack took place amid uproar in Turkey over the Pope’s “genocide” comment.

Francis was referring to the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923.

Turkey officially denies that the killings were systematic. The Armenian community demands that Turkey acknowledge the deaths as a genocide, and more than 20 countries have passed bills describing the killings as such.

Francis’s comment have prompted diplomatic fallout between the Vatican and Ankara, with the Turkish government recalling its ambassador to the Holy See.