Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Qatar accuses UAE of hack that sparked Gulf crisis

Qatar accuses UAE of hack that sparked Gulf crisis

Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Gaddafi.

The UAE embassy in Washington on Monday sent a series of tweets quoting its ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba, denying the Washington Post report, which was published Sunday and, according to the paper, was based on information provided by unnamed United States intelligence officials.

Qatar said it believed a media report citing US officials had revealed the responsibility of the United Arab Emirates in an alleged hack on its state news agency in late May which helped spark a diplomatic rift between Doha and its neighbors.

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 hacking of Qatari media services in May saw the tiny Gulf state's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, quoted as praising Hamas and describing Iran as an "Islamic power". Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors.

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

Qatar's government communications office seized on the report, saying it "revealed the involvement" of the UAE and senior Emirati officials.

The newspaper report, published online Sunday evening, cited unnamed US intelligence officials.

"The Washington Post story is not true, purely not true", he said responding to a question after a speech at Chatham House in London. Doha had previously asked U.S. and British officials to investigate the source of the hack. His visit had yielded little except for a bilateral agreement between the United States and Qatar to fight "terrorism". The article stated that the officials were still not certain whether the hacks were carried out by contractors or officials.

Washington and Doha signed the agreement as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Qatar on a three-day tour of Gulf-Arab countries to try to end a month-long rift between Western-allied Arab states.

News agencies and channels with close ties to the UAE, Saudi and Egyptian governments reported the emir's quoted comments with startling speed soon after the alleged hack took place.

They say Qatar has supported many radical groups.

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.

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