Qatar lashes out at UAE over QNA hacking

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash speaks during a press conference at his office in Dubai

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash speaks during a press conference at his office in Dubai

Later that day, the official Qatar News Agency quoted Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as criticising U.S. "hostility" towards Iran, describing it as an "Islamic power that can not be ignored", and calling Hamas the "legitimate representative of the Palestinian people". A couple weeks later, those countries, along with Egypt and Bahrain, imposed a blockade on Qatar, issuing it a list of demands, including cutting its ties with Iran and Hezbollah, closing down a Turkish military base on its territory, and shuttering al-Jazeera. Doha denies the accusations.

Qatar said in late May that hackers had posted fake remarks by the emir, an explanation rejected by Gulf states.

A day earlier, the American paper quoted unnamed United States intelligence officials as saying that senior members of the Emirati government had discussed the cyber attack and its implementation on Qatar on May 23.

It was unclear whether the UAE carried out the hacks itself or had contracted to have them done, the Post said.

A CNN report titled, "US suspects Russian hackers planted fake news behind Qatar crisis", citing anonymous United States officials, claimed that intelligence gathered as part of an FBI investigation into the hack indicated that unnamed Russian hackers could be behind the intrusion.

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However, UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said the latest report "is simply not true" and denied his country's role in the incident.

He pointed out that "the current crisis of dimensions beyond the domestic arena of the GCC (Gulf co-operation council)", noting the "need to put an end to official support for extremism and jihadism and terrorism in various parts of the Arab world". "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation, and undermining the stability of its neighbors", the statement said. But the Trump administration shares most Arab governments' fixations with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, so after Trump's visit, they likely assumed their offensive against Qatar would be well-received. "We have taken our measures, harsh they might be but you should have dealt with them in a mature way".

"But with this new information - that certainly throws a wrench in these negotiations - it remains to be seen exactly where things will go".

"Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack", Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri, Qatar's attorney general, told reporters in the capital, Doha, on June 21.

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