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UAE Hacked Qatari Government News Site

UAE Hacked Qatari Government News Site

The Washington Post's story cited unnamed USA 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.

Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed sanctions on Doha on June 5, including closing its only land border, denying Qatar access to their airspace and ordering their citizens back from the emirate.

The emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, had been quoted in May as praising Hamas and saying that Iran was an "Islamic power", the Post reported.

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

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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. "The Washington Post story today that we actually hacked the Qataris is also not true", he told the London-based think-tank Chatham House.

Swiss news network The Local said a fake news story quoting Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino had been posted on a copycat website on Saturday.

The hack, which took place the following day, preceded the current split in the Gulf between Qatar and a coalition of four states that are mounting an economic and diplomatic boycott against it.

In an interview, Mohammed Cherkaoui, professor on conflict resolution at George Mason University, said the new Washington Post "bombshell" shows that the Gulf crisis "is moving from one escalation to another".

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United States intelligence agencies declined to comment on the Post's article, but the UAE's ambassador insisted that it "had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking".

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt responded by blocking Qatari media.

"What we really do want is we either reach an agreement and Qatar's behaviour changes, or Qatar makes it own bed and they can move on and we can move with a new relationship".

Speaking at the Chatham House global affairs think tank in London, Gargash repeated claims - denied by Qatar - that the country funds extremists. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbours", the statement said. They presented Qatar with a list of 13 wide-ranging demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face unspecified consequences.

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