France's TV5Monde television channel was forced to shelve its regular programming Thursday after falling victim to an "unprecedented" hack by self-proclaimed Islamic State militants, who also hijacked its website and social networks.

The Paris-based company, whose programmes are broadcast in more than 200 countries worldwide, was the target of a cyber-attack that is "unprecedented for us and unprecedented in the history of television," TV5Monde boss Yves Bigot told AFP.

By 5:00pm (1500 GMT), the channel was able to broadcast only pre-recorded programmes but had regained control of its website, where the front page declared "TV5Monde has been hit in the heart."

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