UAE Criminalizes Sympathy Towards Qatar, Imposing Up to 15 Years Jail Penalty

Al-Jazeera Says Battling Cyber Attack

Al Jazeera Media Network was under cyber attack

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told the broadcaster that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has confirmed the hack and the planting of fake news.

"Now the situation in the Arabian Gulf over the last few days is troubling to the United States, the region, and to many people who are directly affected", Tillerson said in a televised remark at the State Department. On Monday, regional giant Saudi Arabia abruptly chose to sever all diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar over its relations with another regional giant, Iran, and its alleged funding of extremist groups.

"The previous emir is a big supporter of this whole extremist agenda, so we do have an issue", the official said.

"Our position on countering terrorism is stronger than numerous signatories of the joint statement - a fact that has been conveniently ignored by the authors". It accused Doha of harboring "terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to destabilize the region including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh and Al Qaeda".

One US intelligence official said that while Russia has the expertise and an incentive to sow division among Arab states allied with the United States, Russian hackers were available for hire to other countries and criminal groups.

As a result of the update, 59 individuals and 12 entities are now designated by each of the four countries.

Al-Udeid is home to the forward headquarters of the US Special Operations Central Command (SOCCENT) and the US Air Force's Central Command (AFCENT), with advanced command and control infrastructure built up over the past 14 years, with Qatari funding. "This dispute is threatening the stability of the entire region", he said.

And denouncing the blacklist, Sheikh Mohammed added: "There is a continuous escalation from these countries. but our strategic options are still diplomacy and dialogue".

Saudi Arabia is closing its border with Qatar, leaving citizens of the peninsula nation scrambling for food and supplies.

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir. Qatar has strongly refuted the allegations.

Qatar has rejected the accusations as "unjustified" and "baseless".

Kuwait - which unlike most of its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members has not cut ties with Qatar - has led mediation efforts.

In a rare public statement, Tillerson appealed to the Middle Eastern and North African governments behind the blockade of Qatar.

It warned it could further lower Qatar's rating "if additional or more severe restrictions from either Saudi Arabia and the group of states, or from additional trade partners, are announced".

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