UAE arranged for hacking of Qatar govt sites, sparking diplomatic row

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 17, 2017

The incident helped spark a diplomatic rift between Qatar and its neighbours.

Meanwhile, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told the BBC yesterday the Post's report was "untrue".

Swiss news network The Local said a fake news story quoting Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino had been posted on a copycat website on Saturday.

According to USA intelligence officials, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) carried out the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post inflammatory, false quotes attributed to Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in late May that sparked the ongoing diplomatic impasse between Qatar and its neighbors, reports said. He said: "The Washington Post story is not true". However, the remarks were reported across the region and caused a stir.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt responded by blocking Qatari media.

He said the four Arab powers were in the process of discussing additional sanctions on Qatar but did not elaborate, saying only that "there will be some tightening of the screws".

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. Qatar has previously asked United States and British officials to investigate the source of the hack.

Meanwhile, Qatar has pointed toward USA 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.

"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".

Speaking at the Chatham House global affairs think tank in London, Gargash repeated claims - denied by Qatar - that the country funds extremists. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors", the statement said.

But its Gulf Arab neighbours and Egypt have always been irked by its support for anti-establishment movements and for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood that briefly won power in Egypt, which they regard as a political enemy. But it has denied aiding jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda or so-called Islamic State (IS).

"We've sent a message to Qatar".

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