Anonymous hackers have brought down two Mexican websites to protest Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the country, marking the latest stage in the collective's anti-Vatican campaign.
Twitter accounts synonymous with the collective wrote messages reporting the protest on Thursday, claiming that the Pope's visit was a ploy to increase support for the conservative National Action Party (PAN).
The attack saw the hackers deface two Mexican websites, replacing their front pages with anti-papal and anti-PAN messages.
Though Anonymous has suggested other sites were targeted during the operation, at the time of writing only the Achdiocese of Mexico and Institute of Communications and Philosophy's (Comfil) sites had been confirmed as going down.
The hackers specifically highlighted the Pope's planned activities in the north-central state of Guanajuato as evidence of the visit's political agenda.
Guanajuato, which is governed by PAN's Juan Manuel Oliva, is often viewed as the heart of Mexican Catholicism.
The protest follows the collective's two previous attacks on the Vatican, which saw it take down the institution's website for several hours and cut off its email access earlier in March.
The attacks were cited as "punishment" for a number of the Catholic Church's historical crimes. These included reported cases of sexual abuse of children and allegations that the church has helped hide Nazi war criminals.
Prior to its attacks on the Vatican, the Mexican branch of Anonymous had targeted the country's criminal cartel, promising to release its members' identities to the public.
Entitled OpCartel, the operation was later called off after an individual claiming to be a member of Anonymous was kidnapped and threatened with execution.
The news comes just after Verizon researchers listed Anonymous hacktivists as one of the biggest cyber threats currently facing companies and organisations.
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