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Qatari govt social media, news sites were hacked on UAE order in May - US intel

Qatari govt social media, news sites were hacked on UAE order in May - US intelThe United Arab Emirates arranged for Qatari government social media and news sites to be hacked in late May in order to post fiery but false quotes linked to Qatar's emir, prompting a diplomatic crisis.

This was reported by Washington Post on Sunday, citing U.S. intelligence officials.

The emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, had been quoted in May as praising Hamas and saying that Iran was an "Islamic power," the Washington 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 said in late May that hackers had posted fake remarks by the emir, an explanation rejected by Gulf states.

U.S. intelligence officials learned last week of newly analyzed information that showed that top 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. The Washington Post did not identify the intelligence officials it spoke to for the report.

UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba denied the report in a statement, saying it was "false," the Washington Post said.

"What is true is Qatar’s behavior. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi. Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors," the statement said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was previously known to be working with Qatar to probe the hacking.
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