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    A man walks on the corniche in Doha, Qatar, June 15, 2017

    UAE Behind Hacking Attacks on Qatar’s Media Aimed at Provoking Diplomatic Row

    © REUTERS / Naseem Zeitoon
    Middle East
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    The hacking attacks on the Qatari news agency that later sparked the diplomatic row between Doha and several Arab states were masterminded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Washington Post reported, citing US intelligence officials.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and a number of other countries cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar in June, one week after the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, when the Qatari news agency posted a speech on behalf of the country's emir in support of Iran. The official representative of the Qatari Foreign Ministry said that the agency's site was hacked, the speech was published by hackers and has nothing to do with the country’s leader.

    The US intelligence learned about the UAE’s involvement after analyzing the obtained information that UAE senior officials allegedly discussed the plan of hacking Qatar’s media outlet on May 23, one day prior to the attack. It is unclear whether Abu Dhabi conducted the attacks itself or recruited the third-party contractors, according to the newspaper.

    Abu Dhabi in response to the newspaper's article refuted the allegations and said that the story is false.

    “The UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article … What is true is Qatar’s behavior. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas [terrorist organizations, outlawed in Russia] and Qadafi. Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors,” UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef al-Otaiba said, as quoted by the newspaper.

    In late June, Kuwait, as a mediator in the crisis, handed over to Qatar the ultimatum of the four Arab states with 13 demands, including the requests to severe Doha's relations with Tehran, close Turkey’s military base in Qatar and shut down the Al Jazeera TV channel, as well as to end support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization banned in Russia. On July 5, the four Arab states confirmed Doha's refusal to comply with their demands and expressed regret over such a position.


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