UAE hacked Qatari Govt sites to plant false story

UAE hacked Qatari Govt sites to plant false story

UAE hacked Qatari Govt sites to plant false story

The Washington Post's story cited unnamed U.S. intelligence officials as saying newly-analysed information confirmed that on 23 May senior members of the UAE government had discussed a plan to hack Qatari state media sites.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates broke off diplomatic relations and communication with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs.

The dispute began in May when Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani was reported to have made statements on the state news agency supporting Iran.

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". He said that the story "will die" in the next few days.

"The UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article", said the UAE's ambassador to the USA in a statement.

"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".

But Qatar said that the Washington Post report proved its version of events, that its websites were hacked and that quotes were fabricated and published.

USA intelligence officials told The Washington Post that last week, new information was revealed, claiming that senior-level officials in the UAE government planned to hack the Qatari News Agency a day before the story appeared.

The Gulf crisis is the worst to hit the region since the establishment of the GCC in 1981. Previously, US media, citing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, blamed the attack on "Russian hackers".

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The report said that the Russian government was not involved in the hacks but freelance hackers were paid for the job.

Gargash's speech in London appeared to question Qatar's future in the GCC.

"This is our message: You can not be part of a regional organization dedicated to strengthening mutual security and furthering mutual interests, and at the same time undermine that security and harm those interests. You can not be both our friend and the friend of al-Qaida".

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

The Gulf states who cut ties with Qatar last month have given their strongest hint yet that they plan to expel Qatar from the Gulf Cooperation Council, the regional trade and security group.

Qatar has denied the accusations and called the collective decision "unjustified".

Qatar has acknowledged providing assistance to Islamist groups designated as terrorist organisations by some of its neighbours, notably the Muslim Brotherhood.

Gargash described the list on Monday as an "opening gambit" but declined to directly answer whether the quartet would insist on closing Al Jazeera, implying the quartet may soften their demands.

"This is our message: You can not be part of a regional organisation dedicated to strengthening mutual security and furthering mutual interest and at the same time undermine that security", he said.

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