Hackers targeted official websites in Bahrain just hours before the start of a parliamentary election on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said.
The ministry did not identify the websites targeted, but the country’s state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA) could not be reached online, nor could the website for Bahrain’s parliament.
“Websites are being targeted to hinder the elections and circulate negative messages in desperate attempts that won’t affect the determination of citizens who will go to the polling stations,” the ministry said on its Twitter account.
Screenshots taken by internet users showed a picture after the hack claiming it was carried out by a previously unknown account called Al Toufan, or “The Flood” in Arabic.
The news agency's website was back online by early Saturday morning.
Bahrainis are choosing 40 members for the lower house of parliament, the Council of Representatives, as well as 30 members of the municipality council.
According to the final lists, a total of 507 candidates are taking part in the elections, including 94 women, BNA reported on Saturday.
Polling booths opened at 8am and are scheduled to close at 8pm.
The parliament’s upper house, the Consultative Council, is appointed by royal decree by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
— With reporting from Associated Press.