UAE said to be behind hacking of Qatari websites

Yousef al-Otaiba

The UAE arranged for Qatari government social media and news sites to be hacked in late May in order to post fiery but false quotes linked to Qatar's emir, prompting a diplomatic crisis, The Washington Postreported on Sunday, citing U.S. intelligence officials.

Since June 5, Qatar has been under a land, sea and air blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen, who accuse Doha of supporting terrorism.

Dr Ebtisam Al Kitbi, chairwoman of Emirates Policy Centre, questioned the credibility of the report published by the Washington Post and slammed it as "mere fabrications".

Other demands include stopping the alleged funding of terrorist groups in the region, the termination of the Turkish military presence in Qatar, the shutting down of Al Jazeera and reparations for the damage allegedly caused by Qatari interference.

Qatari officials said the agency had been hacked by an "unknown entity" and that the story had "no basis whatsoever". The Post did not identify the intelligence officials it spoke to for the report.

What is true is Qatar's behavior.

USA 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". Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas [terrorist organizations, outlawed in Russia] and Qadafi. His visit had yielded little except for a bilateral agreement between the United States and Qatar to fight "terrorism". The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) declined to comment, according to the newspaper. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation, and undermining the stability of its neighbors", the statement said.

"What we know now is that Qatar is admitting that the list is worthy, that the list needs to be looked at, and that they need to change some of their laws to ensure that there is a proper process to cover this list", he said.

"We need a regional solution and global monitoring", said Mr Gargash in prepared remarks he was set to deliver in London on Monday.

Commentators had expected further sanctions to be placed on Doha, however Mr Gargash has said that the UAE would not escalate its boycott by asking companies to choose between doing business with it or with Qatar.

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