UAE closes its airspace to planes from Doha, blocks Qatari websites

"Intelligence gathered by the USA security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, United States officials say".

The US secretary of state has urged Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states to ease their blockade on Qatar, saying it is causing unintended humanitarian consequences and affecting the US-led fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. "Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!".

Speaking in a rare interview, the Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said that Qatar has "chosen to ride the tiger of extremism and terrorism" and now needed to pay the price. "Thani also allegedly noted the importance of Iran as a regional power - an apparent dig at attempts by Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and President Trump to isolate Iran during last month's summit in Riyadh". Qatari military was put on high alert and 16 Leopard tanks were moved out of storage in Doha.

Qatar's neighbours are angry at Doha's backing for jihadist groups, its willingness to engage with Iran, and its patronage of Al Jazeera, which often criticises Gulf governments.

That official and others say the situation in Qatar has not affected U.S. military operations and security in the country.

Qatar said on Monday it was facing a campaign of lies and fabrications aimed at putting the Gulf Arab state under guardianship, after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with it.

"Qatar has a history of supporting groups that have spanned the spectrum of political expression, from activism to violence", he added.

The crisis was reportedly sparked by an interview with the Qatari leader that Qatar said was a false news story.

"The investigation team confirmed that the hack was carried out using innovative technological methods by exploiting an electronic gap on the website of the Qatar News Agency", the report said.

Saudi Arabia and allies, which have cut ties with Doha, on Friday issued a list of individuals and entities they say are linked to Qatar over "terrorism".

The UAE has now banned its people from expressing their sympathy towards Qatar on social media or elsewhere. Qatar relies heavily on food imports, especially those coming over its only land border with Saudi Arabia.

  • Leroy Wright