Investigation confirms Qatar news agency was hacked: Ministry

An article quoted Qatar’s Emir (above) as cautioning against confrontation with Iran as well as defending the Palestinian group Hamas and Hezbollah.
An article quoted Qatar’s Emir (above) as cautioning against confrontation with Iran as well as defending the Palestinian group Hamas and Hezbollah.PHOTO: AFP

DUBAI (REUTERS) - A preliminary investigation has confirmed that Qatar's state news agency was hacked and false statements attributed to the country's ruler were posted that helped spark a rift with other Gulf states, the Qatari foreign ministry said on Wednesday (June 7).

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and several other countries cut their ties with Doha on Monday in part because of the comments briefly posted on the Qatar News Agency.

The article quoted Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as cautioning against confrontation with Iran as well as defending the Palestinian group Hamas and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shi'ite movement allied to Teheran.

"The Ministry said the investigation team confirmed that the piracy process had used high techniques and innovative methods by exploiting an electronic gap on the website of the Qatar News Agency," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It did not say who it might believe carried out the hack.

The Arab countries at odds with Qatar accuse it of supporting militant groups and advancing their arch-rival Iran's agenda in the region - charges Doha calls baseless.

Qatar's foreign ministry thanked the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the British National Commission for Combating Crime for cooperating in the investigation, without elaborating.