BBC Weather's Twitter account has been hacked by group claiming to be the pro-government Syrian Electronic Army.
The rogue tweets began at 1pm on Thursday announcing their presence, a tweet that was shortly followed by the pronouncement "Long Live #Syria Al-Assad #SEA."
A series of bizarre posts about Middle Eastern countries followed in the style of a weather bulletin, but bearing oblique references insulting rulers and national stereotypes.
One said: "Earthquake warning for Qatar: Hamad Bin Khalifah about to exit vehicle" (the Qatari ruler is a large man)
Another more alarming post read: "Hazardous fog warning for North Syria: Erdogan orders terrorists to launch chemical weapons at civilian areas."
One appeared to reference Western funds being given to Syrians: "Scandal: Edinburgh storm warning station decommissioned after maintenance fund diverted to arming Syrian opposition."
It then ended: "Thanks for hanging out with us! To know the truth about the global terrorist war on #Syria, follow @Official_SEA #SEA"
The Syrian Electronic Army, also known as the SEA is an organization that Alec Ross, Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described as spreading "pro-government propaganda online."
They target a number of websites and three days ago hacked Human Rights Watch's website and Twitter feed. HRW have published a number of reports heavily criticising Assad. The SEA wrote on HRW's website "All Your reports are FALSE !! Stop lying!!!” and redirected to the homepage of the Syrian Electronic Army. The hackers are believed to operate with at least tacit support of the regime, it has been reported.
The last tweet sent by genuine BBC staff appeared to be at midday, when they posted the altogether less inflammatory "There's an amber warning for #rain in south west England now. Keep up to date with this & all our weather news here: http://bbc.in/ce0V "
The BBC's social media editor said they were aware of the hack and were attempting to sort it. By 3pm all the tweets had been deleted.
BBC spokesperson said:"We are aware that in the past few hours several BBC Twitter accounts have been hacked. We are actively working on this and expect it to be resolved shortly.”
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