Pro-Russian hackers attack institutional websites in Italy - police

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ROME (Reuters) - Pro-Russian hackers have attacked the websites of several Italian institutions and government ministries, the police said on Friday.

At 0800 GMT it was still not possible to access the websites of the Italian foreign ministry and its national magistrates association.

The attack was launched at around 2000 GMT on Thursday by the hacker group "Killnet," Italian cyber-security group Yarix said in a statement.

A similar attack took place on May 11, and last weekend police said they had thwarted a cyber-assault on the latter stages of the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin which ended on Saturday with the victory of Ukraine's entry.

The police attributed both attacks to the Killnet group and its affiliate Legion.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, many Western governments have raised alert levels in anticipation of possible cyber attacks on IT systems and infrastructure.

Russia routinely denies it carries out offensive cyber operations.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante, writing by Gavin Jones; Editing by Kim Coghill)