Top Jordan website back up after hacking

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AMMAN — Jordan's most popular news website, Ammonnews, said it was shut down by the security services for several hours on Monday before going back online.

Access was interrupted one day after it published a statement critical of the government issued by 36 representatives of Jordan's major tribes who represent the backbone of the kingdom.

The statement -- issued against the backdrop of mass protests in Egypt -- spoke of a "crisis of authority" and "profound corruption," adding that Jordan would "sooner or later" face a popular revolt.

"Security services who ordered the closing of the site are the ones who decided to re-open it," chief editor Basel Okoor told AFP.

Journalists held a sit-in in front of their union in Amman to protest the measure.

Back online, the site republished the statement but dropped sensitive sections, according to an AFP reporter.

"No one requested any specific commitments from Ammonnews, which will continue informing the Jordanian public as usual," said Okoor.

Earlier in the day, Okoor said the personal email accounts of his staff had been hacked after the statement's publication and that they no longer had "technical access" to the site.

"We received today (a message) that said: 'You are working against the interests of the state, we are going to hack you,' which was the case a few minutes later," Okoor said.

Ammonnews became Jordan's first news website at its launch in 2006. Fifty others have since sprung up but Ammonnews remains the most popular with 250,000 daily visitors, according to data from web traffic monitor Alexa.