UAE Hacked Qatari Government News Site

Joanna Estrada
July 17, 2017

Qatar said on Monday that a USA media report had shown that the United Arab Emirates was involved in an alleged hack of Qatar's state news agency in late May that helped spark a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia and its allies - the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt - accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and led a group of Muslim-majority nations to cut ties with Doha.

The Washington Post cited U.S. intelligence officials as saying the UAE had orchestrated the posting of incendiary quotes attributed to Qatar's emir that he insisted were fabricated.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash also rejected the article as "purely not true", and denied that his country was behind the alleged cyber attack, which sparked a diplomatic rift between Doha and its neighbors.

The UAE said the Washington Post report was untrue, and that four Arab powers were discussing imposing new sanctions on Qatar. He said that the story "will die" in the next few days.

Qatari officials said the agency had been hacked by an "unknown entity" and that the story had "no basis whatsoever".

Meanwhile, Qatar has pointed toward U.S. intelligence officials who revealed the UAE's involvement of being behind an alleged cyber-attack on Doha's state media, which set into motion the current diplomatic crisis.

He again suggested the structure of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the six-member defence and trading bloc, is not sustainable and denied reports that the UAE had threatened Federation Internationale de Football Association over continuing to allow Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.

The Guardian reported last month that an investigation by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had concluded that freelance Russian hackers were responsible.

Speaking at the Chatham House global affairs think tank in London, Gargash repeated claims - denied by Qatar - that the country funds extremists.

"What we really do want is we either reach an agreement and Qatar's behaviour changes, or Qatar makes its own bed and they can move on and we can move with a new relationship. Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation, and undermining the stability of its neighbours", the statement said. A few days later the four states launched their blockade of Qatar.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday returned to the United States from his shuttle diplomacy in the Gulf region to try to resolve the dispute.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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