UAE denies Washington Post report it orchestrated Qatar hack

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A new report by the Washington Post, citing USA intelligence, says there is evidence that the United Arab Emirates coordinated the hacking of Qatar's state media agency (QNA), which led to the blockade of the Gulf monarchy.

The dispute began in May when Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani was reported to have made statements on the state news agency supporting Iran.

The Post reported that U.S. intelligence officials learned last week of newly analysed information that showed that top UAE government officials discussed the planned hacks on May 23, the day before they occurred.

Anwar Gargash, the UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs, also claimed the story was false. According to the officials, it is unclear whether the UAE performed the hack itself or whether the country paid a team of outside hackers.

They came after the United States president, Donald Trump, completed a string of counter-terrorism meetings with Gulf leaders in Saudi Arabia.

"The Washington Post story is not true, simply not true", Gargash said. "You can not be both our friend and the friend of al-Qaida". The issues has plunged the oil-rich region into a diplomatic and political crisis.

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United States intelligence agencies declined to comment on the Post's article, but the UAE's ambassador insisted that it "had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking". Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi [the former Libyan leader]. "Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors", the statement further read.

Qatar said in late May that hackers had posted fake remarks by the emir, an explanation rejected by Gulf states.

Intelligence officials said their working theory since the Qatar hacks has been that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt or some combination of those countries were involved.

He also reiterated that the UAE and five other Arab nations had not written to Federation Internationale de Football Association to demand that Qatar be stripped of the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

In late June, Kuwait acting as a mediator in the crisis, handed over to Doha the ultimatum of the four Arab states with 13 demands, including the requests to severe Qatar's relations with Iran, close Turkey's military base in Qatar and shut down Al Jazeera TV channel, as well as to end support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization banned in Russian Federation.

Qatar has acknowledged providing assistance to Islamist groups designated as terrorist organisations by some of its neighbours, notably the Muslim Brotherhood.