'Not true, purely not true': UAE denies Qatar hacking claim

Cheryl Sanders
July 17, 2017

The United Arab Emirates hacked web sites in nearby Qatar, prompting the feud among several Gulf states that's almost two months old with no sign of a resolution, The Washington Post reported.

The UAE hacked the websites or paid for getting them hacked (which is still unclear) in order to post false quotes linked to Qatar's emir, prompting the Qatar-Gulf diplomatic crisis, the Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing U.S. intelligence officials.

"What is true is Qatar's behaviour".

On June 5, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Doha in retaliation for what they described as Qatar's support for terrorism and extremism, its hostile policy and intervention in the affairs of Arab states. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors", the statement said.

The crisis erupted May 24, when Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, was cited on government and news websites as praising Iran and the radical Palestinian group Hamas.

Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and allies in Egypt and Bahrain cut trade and political ties with Qatar on 5 June, claiming that Doha meddled in global affairs and funded terrorist organisations.

Qatar said those reports were fabricated and posted by hackers, though it hasn't identified the source.

Al Jazeera's Heidi Zhou-Castro, reporting from Washington, DC, said this is new information and the US Department of State has yet to officially respond.

Officials also noted that it is not yet known whether or not the UAE committed the hack itself, or contracted another party to have them carried out.

The Washington Post story also comes days after the USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson spent four days engaged in shuttle diplomacy between Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - all strategic U.S. partners - seeking to find a way to resolve the crisis.

"These are certainly developments that will be analysed and will have a major role to play in negotiations coming up", she said.

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

Last month, Mr Al Otaiba's emails were hacked and released by a group linked to Qatar called GlobalLeaks.

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

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