Gulf state has been isolated by its neighbours after freelance hacking operation aimed at discrediting emir over his links to Islamist groups

A joint investigation by the FBI and the UK’s National Crime Agency has concluded that Russian hackers were responsible for sending out fake messages from the Qatari government, sparking the Gulf’s biggest diplomatic crisis in decades.

It is believed that the Russian government was not involved in the hacks; instead, freelance hackers were paid to undertake the work on behalf of some other state or individual. Some observers have claimed privately that Saudi Arabia or UAE may have commissioned the hackers.

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