Qatar Government Communications Office said today that the official state news agency website was hacked and subsequently carried a "false statement" attributed to the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
“Qatar News Agency (QNA) website which is the government news agency has been hacked by an unknown entity. A false statement attributed to His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani has been published,” the statement said.
Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed Al-Thani, Director of the Government Communications Office confirmed that an investigation will be put in place to look into this matter.
QNA also tweeted on its Arabic handle that “Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, Director of the Government Communication Office, said that Qatar News Agency (QNA) website was hacked after Emir’s visit to the graduation ceremony of the eighth batch of the National Service recruits.”
“The statement published has no basis whatsoever, and that the competent authorities in the State of Qatar will hold all those committed accountable,” the statement added.
تؤكد وكالة الأنباء القطرية أن موقعها الإلكتروني قد تعرض للاختراق من قبل جهات غير معلومة وتحتفظ الوكالة بحقها في محاسبة من وراء هذا الفعل— وكالة الأنباءالقطرية (@QatarNewsAgency) May 23, 2017
Amid an apparent wide-scale security breach it was also reported that the agency's official Twitter account had also been attacked.
Among the issues allegedly addressed in the fake statement on the website were the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, strategic relations with Iran, and comments about Hamas.
There were also alleged negative remarks about Qatar's relationship with the new administration of US President Donald Trump.
The remarks on QNA were picked up and reported by broadcasters in the region, including some in the United Arab Emirates.
They also caused a stir on social media in the Gulf, before Doha denied the claims in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Al Jazeera also reported that the QNA Twitter account had been hacked and "fake" reports that Qatar was withdrawing ambassadors from several countries in the region were subsequently denied.
The communications office added that the "State of Qatar will hold all those who committed the breach accountable."
The attack on Qatar's official news agency comes just days after Doha said it had been the victim of an orchestrated smear campaign in the media.
Few days back Doha's communications office released an official statement claiming the country was being attacked by anti-Qatar organisations.
"In the run-up to President Donald Trump's visit to the Middle East, an orchestrated barrage of opinion pieces by anti-Qatar organisations in a variety of mainstream and on-line publications has alleged that Qatar is sympathetic to, or turns a blind eye toward, the actions of terrorist groups in the Middle East. This is absolutely and unequivocally false," the statement said.
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