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UAE denies hacking Qatari news agency

UAE denies hacking Qatari news agency

Senior officials have denied a report in the Washington Post that alleges the UAE orchestrated a purported hack of Qatari state media that sparked the crisis between Doha and four Arab countries that accuse it of supporting extremism.

The Post reported that US intelligence officials learned last week of newly analyzed information that showed that top UAE government officials discussed the planned hacks on May 23, the day before they occurred. The Emirati ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba, was also quick to deny the report. "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".

Among the false social media posts published during the hack were some made in the name of the Emir of Qatar, in which he appeared to make disparaging remarks about US President Donald Trump, praised Gaza's Hamas leaders and expressed support for Iran as an "Islamic power". "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation, and undermining the stability of its neighbours", the statement said.

On May 24, two day after USA president Donald Trump's visit to Riyadh for a summit with leaders from the GCC and dozens of other Muslim-majority countries, Qatar News Agency carried on its website and a ticker on an online video incendiary quotes attributed to Sheikh Tamim, the emir of Qatar, including a denunciation of the summit and praise for Iran and Hamas.

He indicated that the culprit was one of the Middle Eastern countries that carried out a boycott of Qatar in the fallout of the hack, including Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and the UAE.

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Qatar says it believes the Washington Post report, saying it "unequivocally proves that this hacking crime took place".

"The Washington Post story today that we actually hacked the Qataris is also not true", Anwar Gargash, the UAE state minister for foreign affairs told the London-based think-tank Chatham House.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was previously known to be working with Qatar to probe the hacking.

"Tillerson's spokesperson has said that [Qatar-Gulf crisis negotiations] may be a long process to find any sort of common ground in resolving this conflict", said Zhou-Castro. "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.

The hacks took place almost two weeks earlier on May 24, one day after senior Emirati officials allegedly discussed the plan.


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