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UAE behind hacking of Qatari gov't sites: report

UAE BEHIND HACKING OF QATARI GOVT SITES: REPORT

Abu Dhabi orchestrated cyber offensive that led to ongoing diplomatic row, Washington Post reports

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was behind a series of hacks that sparked regional discord and isolated Qatar from its neighbors, according to a media report Sunday.

Abu Dhabi orchestrated the cyber offensive, hacking Qatar's state-run news and social media sites "to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani", the Washington Post reported based on information it said was provided by anonymous U.S. intelligence officials

The cyber campaign ultimately resulted to a rupture in ties between Doha and five of its Gulf Arab neighbors led by Saudi Arabia.

Since June 5, Qatar has been under a land, sea and air blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen, who accuse Doha of supporting terrorism.

The hacks took place nearly two weeks earlier on May 24, one day after senior Emirati officials allegedly discussed the plan.

The hacked reports said Qatar's emir called Iran an "Islamic power", and heaped praise on Palestine's Hamas organization, among other controversial claims.

The comments prompted the Saudi-led bloc to ban all Qatari media before ultimately severing ties with Doha.

Abu Dhabi denied the accusation, with its Washington envoy calling the Post story "false" in a statement.

"The UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article," according to the statement.

Throughout the crisis President Donald Trump and his White House have been at odds with the State Department led by Rex Tillerson who has emphasized the need for compromise and said the row could destabilize anti-Daesh efforts.

Trump, however, has firmly sided with Riyadh and its allies, calling Qatar a "high level" supporter of terrorism.

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