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Qatar: QNA hacking linked to countries boycotting Doha

Attorney general says evidence shows cyberattack on state-run news agency is linked to states that cut ties with Qatar.

Qatar News Agency

The attorney general of Qatar says his country has proof that the hacking of its state-run news agency in May is linked to countries that have recently cut ties with Doha.

"Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack," Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri told reporters in Doha on Tuesday.

He said it was too early to explicitly name the countries responsible for the hacking and declined to comment when he was asked if individuals or states were behind it.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed their relations with Qatar on June 5, in a dispute that was escalated after a cyberattack on Qatar News Agency (QNA) on May 23.

US and European officials have said that while US government agencies and experts were convinced that the news agency and the Qatari government's Twitter feed were hacked, they have not yet determined who did the hacking.

READ MORE on Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest updates

Doha launched the inquiry after accusing hackers of publishing fake remarks attributed to Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on QNA's platforms.

Qatar's government categorically denied that the comments, in which the country's leader expressed support for Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and Israel - while suggesting that US President Donald Trump may not last in power, were ever made.

"There are international laws governing such crimes, especially the cyberattack. [The hackers] will be prosecuted according to the law," Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar's foreign minister, had said at the time.

READ MORE: 'Blockade will leave lasting wound'

The Saudi-led bloc of countries accuse Qatar of supporting "terrorism" and advancing the agenda of their regional arch-rival, Ian - charges Doha strongly denies.

Marri also said that a list of individuals and entities designated by the Arab countries as "terrorists" was "baseless," adding that Qatar would legally pursue those who had done harm to it.

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