Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani – File photo
CAIRO – 24 May 2017: Qatari News Agency (QNA) denied on Tuesday an alleged statement of Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, where he attacked Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab of Emirates (UAE), saying its official website and Twitter account have been hacked by an unknown entity.
QNA was the first to run the statement, but even after the official denial, Sky News Arabia and other channels continued to publish the on air broadcast of graduation ceremonies of Qatari army soldiers, accompanied with the Emir’s statement on the news bar.
“Qatar has succeeded in building strong ties with U.S. and Iran simultaneously, considering Iran's regional and Islamic weight that cannot be ignored. It is thus unwise to escalate [the situation] with Iran; especially that it is a major force ensuring stability in the region when there is cooperation.”
Tamim’s statement included an explicit recognition of the warm relationships between Israel and Qatar, which would allow Doha to mediate peace between Tel Aviv and “Hamas, the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” according to his wording.
He called for paying attention to development and fighting poverty, rather than “exaggerated arm deals,” as quoted by the news bar.
The controversial statement triggered a wave of censure among politicians, especially in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, since Tamim’s alleged statement addresses them following the Islamic-American summit held in Riyadh Sunday. After Saudi Arabia and the U.S. sealed a defense cooperation deal worth $110 billion, the summit criticized Iran and supporters of militants in the region.
The young Emir called on ‘brothers in Egypt, Bahrain and UAE to reconsider their anti-Qatar stance, denying accusations of supporting terrorism because of backing Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah.
Tamim said that Qatar is facing an ‘unfair campaign’ coinciding with the visit of Donald Trump to the region, which aims to link Qatar to terrorism to “distort its reputation regionally and internationally.” The Emir also pointed to deteriorated relations with the current U.S. administration, but expressed his trust that the deterioration will not last because Donald Trump’s “violations will be investigated,” according to the denied statement.
The “hacked” website published remarks of Qatari Foreign Minister Mohamed bin Abdel Rahman Al Thani that Doha has withdrawn its ambassadors from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain, over a “conspiracy” to distort Qatar’s reputation. The statement was also denied later through QNA Twitter account.
“The website had been hacked, and the published statements are completely false,” Director of Government Communications Office, Saif bin Ahmed Al-Thani tweeted late Tuesday, affirming that Qatar will investigate the incident and hold those responsible to account.
Head of QNA, Yousef Ibrahim al-Malky, emphasized that the situation is “now under control,” however, both English and Arabic editions of QNA are still down as of Wednesday.
“The Emir did not give any speeches during the graduation ceremony at the North Camp Field,” Malky told Aljazeera in phone call on Tuesday, expressing his “surprise” at the media’s handling of the incident “as a fact,” despite official denial.