More than 70 flights were grounded Tuesday going to and from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt after the Arab countries cut diplomatic ties and closed their airspace to Qatar after accusing the country of supporting terrorism, according to reports. A majority of the flights belonged to Qatar Airways. On Monday, Qatar Airways issued a statement that passengers holding a confirmed ticket to any of the four Arab nations between June 5 and July 6 are permitted to rebook their flights up to 30 days after their current departure date. Other airlines affected include Dubai's Emirates, Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways, Saudi Arabia's Saudia, and Bahrain's Gulf Air, which all canceled flights to and from Doha, the capital of Qatar. Read: Why Did Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain And Egypt Boycott Qatar?
US intelligence officials believe Russian hackers planted a false news story that prompted Saudi Arabia and several allies to sever relations with Qatar, according to CNN. FBI experts visited Qatar in late May to analyse an alleged cyber breach that saw the hackers place the fake story with Qatar's state news agency, the US broadcaster said. Saudi Arabia then cited the false report as part of its reason for instituting a diplomatic and economic blockade of Qatar, the report said. The blockade was joined by several other Gulf states and has spiralled into the worst diplomatic crisis for the region in decades. Qatar's government said the 23 May news report attributed false remarks to the emirate's ruler that appeared friendly to Iran and Israel, and questioned whether the US president, Donald Trump, would last in office, according to CNN.
Qatar has begun an inquiry into a security breach by hackers who posted fake remarks on its national news agency's platforms by its ruler purportedly criticising US foreign policy. The incident comes just days after President Donald Trump met Gulf Arab leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. "The Qatar News Agency (QNA) website has been hacked by an unknown entity. A false statement attributed to His Highness has been published," a government statement early on Wednesday said. Qatar will track down and prosecute the perpetrators, the statement said.
WASHINGTON – U.S. intelligence officials believe Russian hackers planted a false news story that led Saudi Arabia and several allies to sever relations with Qatar, prompting a diplomatic crisis, CNN reported Tuesday. FBI experts visited Qatar in late May to analyze an alleged cyberbreach through which the hackers placed the fake story with Qatar's state news agency, the U.S. broadcaster said. Saudi Arabia then cited the false item as part of its reason for instituting a diplomatic and economic blockade against Qatar, the report said. Qatar's government said the May 23 news report attributed false remarks to the emirate's ruler that appeared friendly to Iran and Israel, and questioned whether U.S. President Donald Trump would last in office, according to CNN. Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told the broadcaster that the FBI has confirmed the hack and the planting of fake news.
A Washington Post report has claimed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was involved in the hacking of Qatar government's news and social media sites. The report said that information accessed by U.S. intelligence officials has confirmed that senior members of the UAE government had discussed the plan and its implementation. The U.S. agencies have not made any public comments on the information they accessed. Also, it was not clear if the UAE contracted some agency for the hack or carried out the hack itself. The UAE has termed the Post report false.