UAE denies hacking Qatari news agency


The Washington Post, citing USA intelligence officials, reported on Monday that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had orchestrated the hacking of the Qatari government's news sites and social media, planting damning false stories about the Qatar's emir.

The UAE government planned the infamous May 24 hacking of QNA, states the report citing USA intelligence officials who were not named because of the "sensitive" character of the matter.

In a statement, HE Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed al-Thani, Director, Government Communications Office, said: "Qatar has long maintained that its government news agency website was hacked on May 24 and fabricated quotes published". It remains unclear whether the UAE carried out the hacks itself or hired an outside contractor, USA intelligence officials told WaPo.

UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba issued a statement claiming The Washington Post story was "false".

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash on Friday said the Qatar crisis, which pits the Arab quartet and Qatar, would not end soon.

'The UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article.

The fake statements, which spoke favorably of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as of relations with Israel, provoke the ire of a number of Gulf states as well as Egypt, and Qatar was effectively cut off from the Arabian Peninsula with a blockade.

Regarding the possibility of Qatar being excluded from the GCC, Gargash said: "The GCC is in crisis and I don't think it serves our purposes to say let's take Qatar out". Qatar strongly denies the allegations. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation and undermining the stability of its neighbours".

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The article, doctored to look like it came from The Local's website, claimed that the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt along with Yemen and Mauritania wrote to Federation Internationale de Football Association.

"We've sent a message to Qatar".

In this context, Le Drian's visit to Jeddah resulted in a Saudi-French agreement on the necessity to fight all terrorist parties and commit to halt funding and supporting them.

United States officials claim the UAE is behind the hacking of Qatar's news agency in May which sparked a diplomatic crisis.

Saudi Arabia's move was welcomed by United States president Donald Trump despite a large U.S. presence at the Al Udeid Air Base, the primary base of USA air operations against the Islamic State.

"We have neither seen the letter referred to in the article, nor sought nor received comment from any representative of Federation Internationale de Football Association on the issue".

Mr Gargash said Qatar's neighbours were prepared to continue the boycott for months if it did not comply with the list of demands it was handed last month and agree to worldwide monitoring. Doha had previously asked U.S. and British officials to investigate the source of the hack.