Israel Defence Force Announces Major Assault on Gaza via Twitter

Fruzsina Eördögh, reporting for Slate:

Wars are started via Twitter now. I am not talking about flame wars, but actual wars with actual bombs with in-real-life targets.

At 9:29 Eastern this morning, the Israeli Defense Force announced via Twitter that it would be attacking targets in Hamas today, as part of an ongoing mission “to protect Israeli civilians and to cripple the terrorist infrastructure in the #Gaza Strip.”

The IDF tweet wasn't just an idle threat either. Within minutes, the IDF spokesperson tweeted that forces had actually already carried out an attack on a target, the “head of the #Hamas military wing,” Ahmed al-Jabari. IDF is live-blogging the attacks, too.

The IDF Twitter account is now live-blogging the apprehension and deaths of a number of high-ranking dissidents.

This entire situation feels like something out of science fiction. I can hardly believe this is being broadcast in such a cavalier way and in such a transparent and propagandistic manner.

Although I suspect this will prove to be an extremely effective communications tool, it's the first time I've seen state-sponsored propaganda ever be delivered via such an open medium.

And, in many respects, it's very worrying, indeed.