Saudi newspaper Al-Watan hacked by Iran, says editor

The hacker intentionally ‘published lies’, claiming they were quotes from Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef

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Hackers from outside Saudi Arabia seized control of a major newspaper website in the kingdom on Thursday and published false news about its military operation in Yemen, the paper said.

The fake report on Al-Watan was picked up by a number of Arabic news sites loyal to Shiite-dominated Iran.

Relations between the two countries have worsened this year.

Speaking to Al Arabiya's Arabic website, Al Watan's Editor-in-Chief Othman Al-Seeni accused Iran of being behind the hack, adding that "entities in Tehran were the first to tweet about the incident".

Al-Seeni said that ISIS may also be associated with the attack, adding that his newspaper's website has also been hacked last year.

"We issued a press release and we are working with the authorities to determine the perpetrators", he added.

"The newspaper online site was subject to hacking at 9:20 on Thursday morning (0620 GMT) by hostile groups from outside the kingdom," the newspaper said in a statement.

"They were able to control the site for a period of time and published false news" including a fake statement by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, it said.

The hacker intentionally "published lies", claiming they were quotes from Prince Mohammed relating to be Saudi-led military coalition's operation in Yemen.

Al-Watan is a privately-owned newspaper linked to a member of the royal family and based in the southwestern city of Abha. It said technicians were able to recover the website after "this crime" of hacking.

(With AFP)