UAE rejects accusations it hacked Qatari websites

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani arrives for a luncheon during the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York City

The American news outlet has published a report which claims the UAE hacked Qatari government news websites in order to plant a false news story and thus create a trigger for the crisis.

The US intelligence officials told the Washington Post it was unclear whether the UAE authorities had hacked the Qatar News Agency itself or paid a third party to do it.

Later that day, the official Qatar News Agency quoted Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as criticising United States "hostility" towards Iran, describing it as an "Islamic power that can not be ignored", and calling Hamas the "legitimate representative of the Palestinian people".

USA intelligence agencies told the Washington Post that they had previously suspected one of the four countries who initially cut ties (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain) was involved in the hack. In response, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain severed their diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism. The anonymous US officials told The Post that USA intelligence does not know if the UAE carried out hacks itself or contracted to have them carried out. In other words, the suggestion is that UAE hacked into Qatar, planted a false story, and then used the false story as a causus belli for the blockade of Qatar.

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

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Qarqash, said the sanctions imposed by the UAE and its allies against Doha are working.

The incident helped spark a diplomatic rift between Qatar and its neighbours.

"You can not be both our friend and a friend of al-Qaeda", he said, repeating allegations - denied by Qatar - that the country funds extremists.

Qatar - which shares its only land border with Saudi Arabia - has rejected accusations it supports terrorism, calling them "unjustified" and "baseless". The emails highlight a years-long campaign on the part of the UAE to court Washington support for its ongoing dispute with Qatar. Qatar has previously asked United States and British officials to investigate the source of the hack. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors".

But its Gulf Arab neighbours and Egypt have always been irked by its support for anti-establishment movements and for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood that briefly won power in Egypt, which they regard as a political enemy.

Qatar has been subjected to a diplomatic and economic blockade that the USA government says could compromised U.S. efforts against so-called Islamic State.

Gargash said the UAE would not escalate its boycott by asking companies to choose between doing business with it or Qatar.

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