ABU DHABI // A fake news website purporting to be the Abu Dhabi daily Aletihad was created in Europe, the paper's editor-in-chief says.
The site carried a version of the paper’s logo and published fake quotes attributed to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
It claimed that the source for the fabricated quotes was the state news agency Wam.
Mohammed Al Hammadi, editor-in-chief of Aletihad, said the website – which used a transliteration of the newspaper's name with a .net domain – was created in a European country and the company that published the statements was foreign.
The fabricated articles claimed Sheikh Mohammed had told King Salman of Saudi Arabia that Kuwait and Oman had “double standards”.
“Until now there is nothing clear and definite about who was behind this,” Al Hammadi said.
He said the creators of the alettehad.net website appeared to want to create tension for the UAE with Kuwait and Oman.
The paper published an editorial yesterday about the fake news site, saying the fabrication was obvious and that tabs or links in it took the user to Aletihad's true website, alittihad.ae.
The incident comes after the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other countries cut ties with Qatar on Monday last week over Doha’s support for terror groups.
Tensions grew after comments attributed to Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim were published on the country's state news website in which he purportedly criticised Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Washington's renewed bid to contain and confront Iran.
Qatari officials had claimed the remarks were fabricated as part of a hacker operation.
Aletihad also reported that the fabrication was done through phishing, which proves that the perpetrators were not able to hack the original website.