Qatar: Government vows to bring “hackers” to books

The government of Qatar Wednesday promised to track down those responsible for fake information on the state news agency’s channels attributed to the country’s Emir allegedly criticizing the US President and calling Iran a regional ‘super power’.

Authorities of the gas-rich country have launched investigation into the incident, which has caused diplomatic row in the region, Doha-based al Jazeera reports.

The information rejected as fake by the Qatari officials was circulated Tuesday on various platforms of the national news agency (QNA). The fake news, attributed to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, laid into President Trump for his Middle East policy and said that he will not stay long in office given domestic challenges.

Sheikh al-Thani who reportedly spoke at a military graduation ceremony also criticized other Gulf States for renewed rivalries against Iran which he designated as “big power” and described Qatar’s relations with Israel as “good”.

The Emir also reportedly criticized the region’s position on Hamas, Hezbollah which he said were resistance movements.

The “hacked” information also mentioned the country’s foreign minister indicating that Doha has recalled its envoys in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt.

Twitter and Instagram accounts of QNA relayed the information in Arabic.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt promptly reacted by blocking several Qatari news websites including al Jazeera and the London-based Middle East Eye.

Doha robustly denied that the Emir made such comments. “The statement published has no basis whatsoever and the competent authorities in the state of Qatar will hold all those [who] committed [this] accountable,” said Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of Qatar government’s communications office.

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