DOHA - Qatar on Thursday accused the United Arab Emirates of being behind the “hacking” of its national news agency that triggered one of the worst Gulf crises in years.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed a slew of sanctions on the emirate, including the closure of its only land border.

The alleged hack of the Qatar News Agency website on May 24 attributed explosive remarks to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

The remarks, denied by Doha, covered sensitive political subjects such as Iran, Palestinian group Hamas, Israel and the United States.

Qatar said its neighbours were behind the alleged hacking but on Thursday the head of an investigation pointed the finger of blame at the UAE.

General Ali Mohammed al-Mohannadi told a news conference the “hacking” was undertaken “from two sites... in the Emirates”.

“The hacker took control of the agency’s network, stole the accounts on its electronic site and uploaded fake information,” Mohannadi said.

The deputy head of Qatar’s cyber security department, Othmane Salem al-Hamoud, told reporters that the alleged hacker “had found a flaw in the news agency’s network which was shared with another individual on Skype”.

“This individual then entered this breach in order to control the QNA network,” he said.

Mohannadi said the results of the investigation were submitted to the state prosecutor who is expected to take “the appropriate measures”. He did not elaborate.

S Arabia lets Qataris go on Haj

Saudi Arabia said Thursday that Qataris wanting to perform this year’s Haj will be authorised to enter the kingdom for the pilgrimage, despite a diplomatic spat between the two countries.

In a statement, the Saudi Haj ministry said Qataris and residents of the Gulf emirate could join the pilgrimage as they were already “electronically registered for the Haj” and they had the necessary permits from Riyadh and Doha.

But the ministry has imposed restrictions on Qatari pilgrims arriving by plane, saying they must use airlines in agreement with the Saudi authorities.

They also needed to get visas on arrival in Jeddah or Medina, their sole points of entry in the kingdom, the ministry added.

Saudi Arabia and its allies Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties and imposed sanctions on Doha in June, including the closure of their airspace to Qatari airlines.