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UAE behind hacking of Qatari Media : Report

WASHINGTON —  The United Arab Emirates reportedly hacked a Qatari news website in May and planted a false story, setting off a diplomatic crisis in the region.

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

On the following day, a story appeared on the Qatari News Agency’s website quoting a speech by Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in which he allegedly praised Iran and said Qatar has a good relationship with Israel.

The story — in which Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani praises Iran — was a pretext for the current crisis between Qatar and several Arab countries, the Post reports.

Similarly incendiary statements appeared on the news agency’s Twitter feed.

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Qatar quickly removed the article saying it was hacked. But Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt all blocked Qatari media and later severed diplomatic ties and imposed sanctions on Doha.

The countries accuse Doha of supporting terrorism, which it denies.

The Emirati Embassy in Washington released a statement in response to the Post report saying the UAE “had no role whatsoever” in the alleged hacking.