JERUSALEM - A hacker brought down the websites of Israel’s national carrier El Al and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) on Monday, raising fears of a wave of politically motivated cyber attacks.Both sites were affected early in the day, posting messages saying they had been taken down for “maintenance.” By early afternoon the El Al site was back up, although the TASE website was still inaccessible. The websites of two small banks were also attacked, Israeli media reported.A spokeswoman for the stock exchange confirmed the site had come under attack but said only the website and not the trading systems had been affected.“There is someone that has been attacking the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange website since this morning,” Idit Yaaron told AFP, describing what appeared to be a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS). The sites crashed several hours after a hacker who calls himself “0xOmar” warned he was going to target both websites, Israeli media reported. It was the latest incident in a series of attacks over the past two weeks, which have seen details of tens of thousands of Israeli credit cards posted online and websites defaced by hackers claiming to be from Saudi Arabia or Gaza. The cyber attacks were hailed by Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Gaza’s Hamas rulers, who said it was “a sign of the Arab youth’s creativity in inventing new forms of Arab and Islamic resistance against the Israeli occupation. “Hamas praises the Arab hackers and calls on the Arab youth to play their role in cyberspace in the face of Israeli crimes,” he said. Danny Dolev, professor of computer science at the Hebrew University, said Monday’s attacks were unlikely to have any serious impact.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 17-Jan-2012 here.