UAE behind hacking of Qatari media

Anwar Gargash denied as false a story in the Washington Post that cited USA officials saying the UAE had orchestrated the hack of Qatar's state news agency. The hack also involved the planting of damning false stories about Qatar's emir.

Qatar has been ostracised by its neighbours since reports revealed its emir making comments praising Hamas and calling Iran an "Islamic power".

"The Washington Post story is not true, purely not true", he said responding to a question after a speech at Chatham House in London.

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

"The UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article", said the UAE's ambassador to the USA in a statement.

Qatar's neighbours, led by UAE and Saudi Arabia, but also including Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Senegal and Mauritania, used the reports as a casus belli to ostracise Qatar diplomatically in a bid to force it to close the al Jazeera television news network amid claims that the emirate was a regional supporter of terrorist organisations.

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

The four Arab states accuse Qatar of ties to Iran and of funding Islamist extremist groups.

Speaking at the Chatham House global affairs think tank in London, Mr Gargash repeated claims - denied by Qatar - that the country funds extremists.

It described the alleged hacking as a violation of global law and of agreements between the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - the regional trade and security group - as well as collective agreements with the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations.

U.S. investigators have been working in Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hack, according to Qatari and U.S. government officials. "You can not be both our friend and the friend of Al Qaeda".

Washington and Doha signed the agreement as U.S. 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.

During his trip to Saudi Arabia in late May, Donald Trump implored the leaders of the Muslim world to crack down on the perpetuators - and financiers - of terrorism within their midst.

They say Qatar has supported many radical groups.

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