Was an Israel military Twitter account suspended amid Gaza conflict?

Twitter may have temporarily suspended the Israel Defence Forces’ (IDF) official account Thursday after it provided a number of updates on the Gaza Strip conflict that escalated 24 hours before.

The IDF used the @IDFspokesperson account to first inform the world of a military action in the Gaza Strip and provided updates as militant groups launched rockets from Gaza into Israel and the Israeli navy targeted a number of sites in Gaza.

One tweet in particular appeared to break Twitter’s rule on posting “direct, specific threats of violence against others.” The account appeared to have been suspended for around 40 minutes Thursday morning, though many Twitter users dispute the Daily Dot’s personal experience. (Twitter does not comment on individual accounts for privacy reasons.)

The @IDFspokesperson and @alqassambrigade (Hamas’s military wing) accounts sparred on Twitter Wednesday as both sides tried to dominate the media narrative and inform the public of events in Gaza from their perspective.

As of 9am ET Thursday, 15 Palestinians (including children) and three Israelis have reportedly died, after Israel killed Hamas’ military chief in Gaza with a surgical strike on Wednesday.

The Israeli army says militants have fired around 245 rockets into Israel, with the Iron Dome system intercepting 145.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi condemned Israel’s military action as he recalled the country’s ambassador to Israel and Egypt urged the U.S. to intervene.

President Barack Obama spoke with Mohammed Morsi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday. He expressed support for Israel’s right to self-defense, and agreed with Netanyahu that Hamas must stop launching rockets towards Israel. The U.S. president also called on Israel to “make every effort to avoid civilian casualties” in its military actions.

Correction: Following a report this morning that @IDFspokesman (not the official @IDFspokesperson account) was suspended, the Daily Dot checked the userpage for the @IDFspokesperson account. It was unavailable to the Daily Dot for approximately 40 minutes. A screengrab was not obtained.

The Daily Dot has found other reports of an erroneous suspension message being displayed for @IDFspokesperson, which, it should be noted, is a verified Twitter account. However, @IDFspokesperson did not appear to be suspended by a large number of Twitter users during the time period in question. This article and its headline have been modified to address this issue.

Twitter has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Photo by @ashhabareej/Instagram

Kris Holt

Kris Holt

Based in Montreal, Kris Holt has been writing about technology and web culture since 2010. He writes for Engadget and Tech News World, and his byline has also appeared in Paste, Salon, International Business Times, Mashable, and elsewhere.