Turkey arrests five suspected hackers of Qatar state media

Turkey arrests five suspected hackers of Qatar state news agency

2 min read
26 August, 2017
Qatar has said that five suspected computer hackers have been arrested in Turkey in connection with a cyber attack on Qatar's state news agency last May.
The hacking preceded the diplomatic and economic blockade imposed on Qatar by its neighbours [QNA]

Qatar has said that five suspected computer hackers have been arrested in Turkey in connection with a cyber attack on Qatar's state news agency last May.

Qatar's general prosecutor Ali bin Fetais al-Marri said on Friday during a press conference in Ankara that the suspects have been accused of involvement in the attack on the Qatar News Agency [QNA] that triggered one of the worst Gulf crises in years.

Marri said in a statement carried by QNA that the arrests have come as result of security cooperation between Doha and Ankara to combat cyber crime.

"We sent a request for judicial assistance to friendly states and states we thought would be able to help with this issue," Marri told Al Jazeera.

"Our friends in Turkey answered us a short time ago. Five people were arrested and they are being investigated. The prosecutors in Qatar are working with the Turkish authorities to follow this case," he added.

The hacking of the QNA website on May 24 attributed fabricated remarks to Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

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

Despite a quick denial from Qatari authorities, news channels in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia broadcasted news of the inflammatory statement for days after the security breach took place.

The hacking preceded the diplomatic and economic blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

Turkey has backed Doha throughout the standoff.

Last month, Qatar accused the UAE of being behind the "shameful" hacking of the national news agency, accusing its neighbour of violating international law.

The Washington Post, quoting unnamed US intelligence officials, reported that the UAE orchestrated the hacking and planted a false story that was used as a pretext for the crisis between Qatar and four Arab countries.