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Published December 12, 2010, 09:05 PM

European Amazon.com Websites Down After Threats by WikiLeaks Supporters

The European websites of online retailer Amazon.com were knocked out for hours Sunday night, the latest attacks in recent days on companies that have stopped doing business with the embattled WikiLeaks organization.

By: Christoph Dernbach, Frank Fuhrig, DPA (MCT)

BERLIN — The European websites of online retailer Amazon.com were knocked out for hours Sunday night, the latest attacks in recent days on companies that have stopped doing business with the embattled WikiLeaks organization.

In Germany, attempts to view the Amazon.de website resulted in error messages. The world's largest internet retailer's servers in Britain, France and Italy were similarly affected, though the websites were viewable again late Sunday.

Amazon's U.S. websites appeared unharmed, and the company issued no immediate statement about the incident, which follows hacking attacks last week on the websites of Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.

The credit-card and online-payment firms recently refused to handle donations to WikiLeaks, which has been posting some U.S. diplomatic cables on The internet to the consternation of Washington and other national governments. Those denial-of-service attacks, in which the websites are bombarded by requests for information, were claimed by a group of WikiLeaks sympathizers known as Anonymous.

Amazon, which is also a major provider of online commercial services, recently withdrew server space that was used by WikiLeaks. Amazon cited alleged illegal activity by the website.

Amazon and the other said their actions against WikiLeaks were not the result of any U.S. or other government pressure.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is jailed in London on an arrest warrant issued in Sweden, where prosecutors are investigating alleged sex crimes. Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, said in a German media interview published Sunday that the case was part of a U.S.-led conspiracy.

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