Bahrain and Egypt on Thursday apparently joined Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in blocking access to websites run by the pan-Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera, part of a growing regional dispute with Qatar after an alleged hack of its state-run news agency.
The alleged hack and a purported fake news report that was published during it have exposed real tensions still lingering in the Gulf between Qatar and other nations over the small gas-rich country’s support of Islamist groups.
While Qatar quickly denied the comments in the fake report attributed to ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Saudi-owned satellite channels repeatedly aired them throughout the day Wednesday. The incident revived suspicions that exploded into the open three years ago, when several Gulf nations pulled their ambassadors from Qatar over similar worries about its politics.
The alleged hack happened early on Wednesday morning and hours later, the website of the Qatar News Agency still was not accessible.