UAE behind Qatar media hacking

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.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar on June 5, cutting diplomatic and transport ties with the tiny Gulf monarchy, after accusing it of financing militant groups and allying with their regional arch-foe Iran.

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

Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to Washington, said in a statement that his country "had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking", describing the article as "false", the Post said.

Qatari officials said the agency had been hacked by an "unknown entity" and that the story had "no basis whatsoever".

A Washington Post report quotes U.S. intelligence officials saying senior members of the Emirati government discussed the plan on May 23, the day before the alleged false story appeared.

The Emirates denied the report.

In a speech to be delivered today in London, Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, is expected to say that there were signs the pressure on Doha "was working".

"What is true is Qatar's behaviour".

"Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack", Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri, Qatar's attorney general, told reporters in the capital, Doha, on June 21. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas [terrorist organizations, outlawed in Russia] and Qadafi.

US officials have said that experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) helping Qatar investigate the incident are convinced QNA was hacked, but that identifying the culprit will take time. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation, and undermining the stability of its neighbours", the statement said.

Mr Gargash told the BBC that Qatar's denial had been contradicted by its agreement to review a list of 59 individuals and 12 organisations who the UAE has accused of supporting terrorism and wants arrested or expelled.

Among the steps being considered is worldwide monitoring in the deadlock between Qatar and the Arab countries boycotting it.

Gargash said the UAE would not ask foreign companies to choose between doing business with it or Qatar, but suggested worldwide monitoring of Qatar was needed.

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