Qatar news agency hacked as fake news war explodes

Qatar news agency hacked as fake news war explodes
Qatar state news agency has been targeted by hackers, with a fake statement attributed to Doha's ruler published by the outlet leading to a regional media war.
2 min read
24 May, 2017
Qatar News Agency said it had been targeted by hackers [Getty]
Qatar News Agency has been targeted by hackers, Doha said on Wednesday, with "fake" comments attributed to its ruler sparking a regional media war.

The state-run news agency said it was targeted by an "unknown entity", which published a fake statement attributed to Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani about a number of comments on sensitive regional issues. 

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

"A false statement attributed to His Highness has been published," with the department saying it is investigating the issue and will hold those found resonsible to account.

The emir's false remarks were picked up by Saudi and UAE media, and sparked angry responses in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

Qatar-based media channel al-Jazeera's Arabic's website and phone applications were blocked in the UAE, reports have said.

Saudi and UAE media channels, meanwhile, also ran a series of critical reports against Doha on Tuesday, citing the fake news story.

The fake statement mentioned a number of sensitive issues including Iran's role in the region, Islamist groups Hamas and Hizballah, and the US President Donald Trump.

Qatar denied the statement attributed to the emir.

Trump visited Riyadh last weekend for his first foreign tour as president, where he attended a Saudi-organised Arab-Muslim-US summit and announced a huge arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have had a rocky relationship with Qatar in recent years with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi briefly pulling their ambassadors from Doha in 2014.

Last week, Qatar said it was the target of a smear campaign by a number of media outlets.

Agencies contributed to this story.