UAE hacked Qatari Govt sites to plant false story

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According to U.S. intelligence officials, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) carried out the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post inflammatory, false quotes attributed to Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in late May that sparked the ongoing diplomatic impasse between Qatar and its neighbors, reports said.

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. PTI file photo

Officials came to know about the newly analyzed information gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that on May 23, senior members of the UAE government discussed the plan and its implementation.

However, the officials are unclear whether the UAE carried out the hacks itself or contracted to have them done. The false reports said that the emir, among other things, had called Iran an "Islamic power" and praised Hamas, The Washington Post 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 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 U.S. State Department declined comment in response to a Reuters query.

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