WASHINGTON — Hackers took control of the Twitter account of FoxNews.com's political news feed on Monday and sent several false tweets saying that President Barack Obama had been shot dead.
"Those reports are incorrect, of course, and the president is spending the July 4 holiday with his family," Foxnews.com said in a statement about the incident.
"Hackers sent out several malicious and false tweets that President Obama had been assassinated," said the company owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp,
"The hacking is being investigated, and FoxNews.com regrets any distress the false tweets may have created," it said.
Obama is celebrating the July 4 Independence holiday with his family at the White House and was due to host military families to watch Fourth of July fireworks in the evening.
There was no immediate reaction from the White House and the Secret Service declined to comment.
The first hacked tweet appeared around 2 a.m. and said: "@BarackObama has just passed. The President is dead. A sad 4th of July, indeed. President Barack Obama is dead."
The next one, "@BarackObama has just passed. Nearly 45 minutes ago, he was shot twice in the lower pelvic area and in the neck; shooter unknown. Bled out"
A group calling itself The ScriptKiddies claimed responsibility for sending the tweets — including "#ObamaDead, it's a sad 4th of July" — from the "foxnewspolitics" name before Twitter suspended its account.
In all some six false tweets were issued, saying Obama had been shot at a restaurant in Iowa while campaigning.
Obama has not been in Iowa this weekend and returned on Sunday to the White House from a brief trip to Camp David.
The hacking of the "FoxNewspolitics" profile was the latest in a wave of prominent cyber security breaches and raised questions about the integrity of news feeds on Twitter.
There was no immediate reply from Twitter to a Reuters request for comment on the FoxNews.com breach.
Fox.com, another Fox Entertainment Group website, was the target of an attack by hacker group Lulz Security in May.
The Twitter account hacking came two days before Obama was due to hold his first "Twitter town hall," where the president will field tweeted questions about the economy and jobs.
Twitter's co-founder and executive chairman Jack Dorsey is due to moderate that Wednesday session at the White House.