Qatar hack – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties to the country

Pierluigi Paganini June 05, 2017

Recent Qatar hack is sparking diplomatic tensions in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties to the country.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain say they want to interrupt any diplomatic relation with Qatar.

According to Al Jazeera, the Saudi kingdom made the announcement via its state-run Saudi Press Agency early on this morning, the three Gulf states gave Qatari residents and visitors two weeks to leave their countries.

The crisis is very dangerous, Saudi also closed the border and halted air and sea traffic with Qatar, the State is also inviting “all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.”

Etihad Airways announced it would suspend flights to and from Qatar beginning Tuesday morning.

Similar measures have been announced by Bahrain, its foreign ministry issued a statement announcing it would withdraw its diplomatic mission from Doha within 48 hours and that all Qatari diplomats should leave Bahrain within the same period.

Qatar’s foreign ministry defined the measures taken by the Arab nations “unjustified”.

“The measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact,” the statement said. [The measures will] “not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents”.

Egypt also closed airspace and seaports for all Qatari transportation “to protect its national security.

The crisis escalated after the so-called Qatar hack, cyber attacks hit the the Qatar’s state-run news agency.  Qatar faced an unprecedented security breach, unknown attackers posted fake news stories attributed to its ruler on highly sensitive regional political issues.

Qatar hack - news agency hacked

The hackers hit the Qatar official news agency website and Twitter account causing serious problems to the country.

Hackers shared fake content supposedly addressed by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, tensions with the Trump’s administration, strategic relations with Iran, and comments about Hamas.

“The Qatar News Agency website has been hacked by an unknown entity,” reported the Communications Office in a statement.

“A false statement attributed to His Highness has been published.”

Hackers also published on the hijacked Twitter account a fake story in Arabic apparently from the country’s foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, about Qatar withdrawing its ambassadors from several countries in other East Gulf states.

The fake statement on QNA was reported by broadcasters in the Gulf area, including in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, Al-Jazeera transmissions and websites were blocked for some time in the UAE.

A cyber attack is triggering a severe crisis in the area, below the comment of Qatar’s foreign minister.

“There are international laws governing such crimes, especially the cyberattack. [The hackers] will be prosecuted according to the law,” Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s foreign minister, said on Wednesday.

The FBI is supporting Qatar investigation of the “hack” of state media, a source with knowledge of the probe confirmed Friday.

The Qatari government asked for US help and an FBI team has been in Doha last week.

“American support was requested and a team sent which has been in Doha since last Friday, working with Qatar’s interior ministry,” the source said.

Qatar would publicly announce the results of the investigation.

Experts fear a repetition of the 2014 crisis, when several Gulf countries recalled their ambassadors from Doha over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Gulf crisis, Qatar hack)

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