UAE behind 'fake news' cyber attack on Qatar, say USA officials

Elias Hubbard
July 18, 2017

The disputed comments praised Hamas and called Iran an "Islamic power".

In addition to cutting diplomatic ties, the countries also banned all Qatari media and instituted a transport and trade boycott in a bid to force the emirate comply with a series of political demands.

The newspaper cited USA intelligence officials as saying they have learned about the UAE's alleged involvement in the May 24 breach of the Qatari news agency after analyzing the gathered information of senior UAE government members discussing the plan and its implementation a day prior to the attack.

Anwar Gargash, the UAE state minister for foreign affairs, also denied a Washington Post report saying that his country had been behind an alleged cyber attack on Qatar in May which sparked a crisis.

The Emirati Embassy in Washington released a statement in response to the Post report saying the UAE "had no role whatsoever" in the alleged hacking.

It continued: "What is true is Qatar's behaviour. Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors", the statement said.

Anwar Gargash, the UAE state minister for foreign affairs, warned Qatar "cannot be part of a regional organisation dedicated to strengthening mutual security and furthering mutual interest and at the same time undermine that security".

"The Washington Post story is not true, purely not true", he said responding to a question after a speech at Chatham House in London.

The United Arab Emirates has denied it was behind the alleged hacking of Qatar's state news agency in May.

Qatar said the report "unequivocally proves that this hacking crime took place".

The Gulf crisis is the worst to hit the region since the establishment of the GCC in 1981. "You can not be both our friend and the friend of Al Qaeda". "We need a regional solution and worldwide monitoring", he said.

Intelligence officials said their working theory since the Qatar hacks has been that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt or some combination of those countries were involved.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, accusing it of financing armed groups and allying with Saudi Arabia's regional rival, Iran - allegations that Qatar denied.

The quartet issued a list of 13 demands that included not just ending support for terrorists and extremists but shutting down Qatar's Al Jazeera TV network, severing ties with Iran and closing a Turkish military base.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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