UAE behind Qatar hack that kicked off Gulf dispute

Egyptian visa

Egyptian visa

Later, it blamed the UAE for the planted story - an allegation backed up by the U.S. intelligence sources quoted in the Washington Post on Sunday.

The United Arab Emirates was behind the hack of a Qatar news agency that helped spark one of the biggest diplomatic crises in the Middle East in decades, according to a bombshell Washington Post report citing unnamed USA intelligence officials on Sunday.

Senior UAE powers are said to have instigated the campaign against Doha, which saw incendiary statements attributed to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani posted on Qatar's new agency websites and social media in May, the sources told United States media.

US intelligence agencies were able to confirm to officials that senior members of the UAE government had discussed a plan to breach the government-run websites in May, the Post said.

The UAE's ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, also issued a statement describing the report as false.

Qatar has maintained its websites were hacked, but the crisis in the Gulf continues to escalate.

At the same time, the Post report says it is still unclear if it was UAE hackers who carried out the attack or if it was "contracted" to foreigners.

The agency quickly removed the article and said it had been hacked, but not before four states-Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt-responded by blocking all Qatari media.

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Qatar said in June it had proof that the recent hacking of its state-run news agency and government social media accounts was linked to countries that have recently cut ties with it.

He said: "The Washington Post story is not true". It continued: "What is true is Qatar's behaviour".

The four Arab states accuse Qatar of ties to Iran and of funding Islamist extremist groups.

Fellow Gulf states had already rejected Qatar's explanation and said Sheikh Tamim's reported remarks reflected deliberate ambiguities in Qatar's policies that have undermined stability in the region.

The GCC is unlikely to hold summits while the Qatar crisis endures and could eventually be "refashioned", Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs told an audience in Chatham House on Monday.

However, professor Fawaz A. Gerges of the department of worldwide relations at the London School of Economics said that the message from Gargash was that the only solution to the crisis was to be found in Riyadh, rather than Washington.

Gargash will claim a direct result of the blockade's pressure is Qatar's private promises to western powers that it will review the list of 59 extremists the UAE claims are in Doha.

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