Global News

UAE denies Washington Post report it orchestrated Qatar hack

UAE denies Washington Post report it orchestrated Qatar hack

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Qatari emir, had been falsely quoted in May as praising Hamas, the Palestinian group which governs the Gaza Strip, and saying that Iran was an "Islamic power".

Qatar's neighbours, led by UAE and Saudi Arabia, but also including Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Senegal and Mauritania, used the reports as a casus belli to ostracise Qatar diplomatically in a bid to force it to close the al Jazeera television news network amid claims that the emirate was a regional supporter of terrorist organisations.

A cyber attack on news and social media web sites in Qatar at the end of May, in which false quotes were attributed to Qatar's emir Sheik Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, sparking a regional diplomatic conflagration, was orchestrated by neighbouring United Arab Emirates, according to U.S. intelligence. He said that the story "will die" in the next few days. As per a Sunday report by The Washington Post UAE arranged the hacking of Qatari government news site. The report mentioned that it was believed Saudi Arabia or UAE might have paid for the hacking.

The four Arab states accuse Qatar of ties to Iran and of funding Islamist extremist groups.

Officials came to know about the newly analyzed information gathered by US intelligence agencies confirmed that on May 23, senior members of the UAE government discussed the plan and its implementation.

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".

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It described the alleged hacking as a violation of global law and of agreements between the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - the regional trade and security group - as well as collective agreements with the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations. Doha said the statements were fabricated and disseminated via a hack.

"You can not be both our friend and a friend of al-Qaeda". Previously, US media, citing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, blamed the attack on "Russian hackers".

When asked whether Qatar's membership was at stake, Gargash did not answer directly and repeated his remarks.

A spokesman for the Qatari embassy in the U.S. responded in a statement to the Post, drawing attention to a statement by Qatar's attorney general, Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri, who said late last month that "Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack". Qatar strongly denies the allegations. Furthermore, Qatar nationals were banned from transiting through their airports.

Qatar has refused to comply with the 13 demands and says the list and the boycott itself are aimed at "limiting Qatar's sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy".


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