UAE minister responds to hacking claims

Elias Hubbard
July 17, 2017

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt - followed by a handful of other Muslim countries - abruptly cut off all diplomatic and trade ties with tiny Qatar on 5 June, alleging that the state interfered in the affairs of its Arab neighbours and funded terror organisations.

The UAE has been accused of hacking the Qatari government's news and social media sites, posting comments which triggered the Gulf crisis.

Dr Al Kitbi said this media campaign is funded by Qatar and meant to divert the attention from its support and funding of terrorist and terrorism. The Post did not identify the intelligence officials it spoke to for the report.

The UAE has denied the hacking claims in a statement released in Washington by its ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba.

The United Arab Emirates warned Qatar on Monday it could not belong to the Gulf Cooperation Council if it undermined regional security, calling for a "change of behaviour" but not "regime change".

Abu Dhabi in response to the newspaper's article refuted the allegations and said that the story is false. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Gaddafi.

The US intelligence officials told the Washington Post it was unclear whether the UAE authorities had hacked the Qatar News Agency itself or paid a third party to do it. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation, and undermining the stability of its neighbours".

The Guardian reported last month that an investigation by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had concluded that freelance Russian hackers were responsible. His visit had yielded little except for a bilateral agreement between the United States and Qatar to fight "terrorism".

New details concerning recent crisis in the Persian Gulf are being revealed while the regional conflict escalates further despite worldwide efforts. "They [the UAE] claim that basically their demands from Qatar are legitimate and they insist that they should be fulfilled nearly as a diktat instead of sitting at a table and negotiating some legitimate differences that they might have with Doha, and somehow, unfortunately, Saudi Arabia has followed suit", said Jahshan.

Commentators had expected further sanctions to be placed on Doha, however Mr Gargash has said that the UAE would not escalate its boycott by asking companies to choose between doing business with it or with Qatar.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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