London – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt blocked on Wednesday Qatari media outlets, including Al-Jazeera, in response to recent comments by Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in which he purportedly attacked US foreign policy, called for cooperation with Iran and urged Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain to review their stance against Doha.
Two hours after the Qatar News Agency (QNA) published the emir’s speech, the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement: “QNA’s website was hacked at 12:14 am on Wednesday morning, with hackers publishing false statements attributed to HH the Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.”
It added that the “shameful cyber crime was instigated and perpetrated with malicious intent.”
In the comments, which were published on the Qatari state-run news agency, Al Thani said that Qatar was facing an “unfair campaign that coincided with the visit of US President Donald Trump to the region,” adding that the campaign was aimed at linking his country with terrorism and distorting its efforts to achieve stability.
Sheikh Tamim said the real threat was the behavior of some governments, which have instigated terrorism by adopting an extremist version of Islam.
He also described relations with Israel as “good,” adding that Iran’s regional and Islamic role could not be ignored.
QNA quoted the Qatari emir as saying that it was not wise to escalate tensions with Iran, which he described as the guarantor of stability in the Middle East.
In a later statement, an official at the Qatari foreign ministry said the country would investigate and prosecute those responsible for the hacking of QNA’s website.
The official said authorities were able to take control of the website four hours after the hacking occurred and that they continued to counter ongoing hacking attempts of QNA’s social media accounts.