European Accused of Sabotaging Internet Network Arrested in UAE

Published June 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A European man accused of sabotaging the Internet network in the United Arab Emirates has been arrested, the national telecommunications company Etisalat announced Tuesday. 

The system has been paralyzed by major breakdowns over the last two weeks. 

"The citizen from a European country is currently been questioned by the Emirati security to find out his motives and discover his accomplices abroad," the director of Etisalat Ali Salem al-Oeiss told a Dubai press conference. 

He refused to give the identity of the "saboteur", who works for an information technology company in Dubai, one of the seven emirates in the UAE federation. 

"Etisalat has been targeted over the past two weeks by a group of internet criminals who have infiltrated numerous sites and affected our services on the Internet network," he continued. 

"Our clients, particularly private and public companies, have been seriously affected," he said. 

Since June 5th, the Internet network has suffered successive breakdowns, adding to pressure for an end to the state monopoly on telecommunications. 

In the last two days Etisalat, which is the only Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the UAE, has had to aplogise many times to its clients and give recorded telephone messages to explain what had gone wrong. 

The problems come at an embarrassing time for Dubai which is currently building what it calls the world's first free exchange zone on the internet, dubbed "Dubai internet city", which is due to launch in October. 

It is also planning an ambitious electronic government project, which should be operational in 2001 - DUBAI (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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