UAE planted fake news in Qatar row, says US


The report "unequivocally proves that this hacking crime took place", it added.

Qatar has repeatedly accused its neighbors of the hack and claimed that it had evidence.

The Washington Post reported that recently analysed evidence obtained by USA intelligence agencies confirms that on 23 May senior UAE government officials discussed hacking Qatari sites.

A story claiming that six Arab nations had written to Federation Internationale de Football Association demanding that Qatar be stripped of the World Cup in 2022 was published on what appeared to be a fake version of a Swiss news website, the site's co-founder said on Sunday.

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The UAE has denied involvement, calling the Post report "false" and insisting that the UAE "had no role whatsoever" in the alleged hacking.

American intelligence officials have confirmed Qatar's suspicions that the United Arab Emirates hacked into the peninsula state's news agency and planted a fake news story to trigger a diplomatic row.

The report particularly said senior UAE officials discussed hacking the QNA on-air text-ticker as well as social media. The official representative of the Qatari Foreign Ministry said that the agency's site was hacked, the speech was published by hackers and has nothing to do with the country's leader.

The Post did not identify the intelligence officials it spoke to for the report.

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In the articles, Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was quoted as cautioning against confrontation with Iran, as well as defending the Palestinian group Hamas and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shia movement allied with Tehran.

"The UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article", said the UAE's ambassador to the USA in a statement. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbours", Yousef al-Otaiba wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

Qatar has been subjected to a diplomatic and economic blockade that the USA government says could compromised U.S. efforts against so-called Islamic State.

In response, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting "terrorism".

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The FBI was previously known to be working with Qatar to investigate the hacking.