UAE arranged hacking of Qatari media site, says report in Washington Post
A few weeks after the incident, Qatar’s Attorney General HE Dr Ali bin Fetais Al Marri had said that the hack had originated from malicious software deployed through iPhones with IP address originating in some of those countries blockading Qatar. However, he had not explained it further.
The Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, had been falsely quoted in May as praising Hamas and saying that Iran was an ‘Islamic power,’ the Post reported.
In response, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting "terrorism". Qatar strongly denies the allegations.
Qatar had sought help from US secret service agency FBI to assist them with the ongoing investigations.
The Post said that US intelligence officials learned last week of newly analysed information that showed that senior UAE government officials discussed the planned hacks on May 23, the day before they occurred.
The officials said it was unclear if the UAE hacked the websites or paid for them to be carried out, the newspaper reported.
However, UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba denied the report in a statement, saying it was ‘false,’ the Post said.
“What is true is Qatar’s behaviour. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi. Inciting violence, encouraging radicalisation, and undermining the stability of its neighbours,” the official’s statement said.
However, Al Otaiba himself had been outed for privately plotting to destabilise Qatar when some of his emails leaked recently.