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Qatar accuses 'neighbors' of hacking that led to row

Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, Chairman of Qatar's National Human Rights Committee, denounced the measures as 'collective punishment'
KARIM JAAFAR (AFP)
Qatar's Attorney General refused to name the 'countries laying siege to us'

Qatar on Tuesday accused "neighboring countries" that have cut ties with Doha of being responsible for the alleged hacking attack on state media which began the current diplomatic crisis.

Attorney General Ali bin Fetais Al-Marri said the case "is very clear" that the cyber attack emanated from "countries responsible for the siege".

"We have evidence to show that iPhones originating from the countries laying siege to us have been used in this hacking," said Marri.

"We have enough evidence to point the finger of blame at these countries."

Marri, speaking in Arabic, did not name specific countries.

But when pressed to be more specific he said "neighboring countries".

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and other allies severed all links with Qatar over accusations that Doha supports extremism -- a claim it denies.

An alleged hack of the Qatar News Agency website on May 24 attributed explosive remarks to Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

The remarks covered sensitive political subjects such as Iran, Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, Israel and the United States.

They were quickly seized on by news organisations outside Qatar, but Doha said they were false.

The subsequent inquiry into the hack used investigators from the FBI.

One report claimed that Russian hackers were responsible, a claim denied in Moscow.

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