Five suspected computer hackers have reportedly been arrested in Turkey in connection with a cyberattack on the state Qatar News Agency (QNA) in April, Al Jazeera quoted Ali al-Marri, Qatar’s general prosecutor, as saying on Friday.
“Our friends in Turkey answered us a short time ago. Five people were arrested and they are being investigated. Prosecutors in Qatar are working with the Turkish authorities to follow this case,” said al-Marri.
Qatari officials suggested that the QNA website was hacked and inflammatory comments attributed to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani were broadcast on news stations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, despite the Qatari government repeatedly rejecting the reports as fake.
The alleged hack involved disparaging remarks purportedly by the emir about Donald Trump, praise for Hamas, and support for Iran as an “Islamic power” The alleged hacking preceded the blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
Qatar had announced on May 24, 2016 that it will investigate and prosecute those responsible for the hacking of QNA’s website. An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) had stated that QNA’s website was hacked with hackers publishing false statements attributed to HH the Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. He had added that they were able to regain control of QNA’s website four hours after the hacking took place, and that they continue to counter ongoing hacking attempts of QNA’s social media accounts.
The Ministry’s official had also pointed out that the cybercrime is being investigated. He further added that several countries expressed their willingness to participate in the investigation, as part of the framework of international collaboration in the fight against cybercrimes.