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Bahrain minister hacked hot on heels of Qatar cyber attack

Hands of coder typing very fast, blurred motion

Dubai – Hackers took over the Twitter account of the Bahraini foreign minister on Saturday just 10 days after a cyber attack on the official news agency of neighbouring Qatar.

The hack, which purported to be carried out in the name of a fringe militant group, came after the Bahraini authorities dissolved the kingdom’s last major opposition movement and after police shot dead five protesters while dispersing a long-running sit-in.

Crushed protests

Bloodied bodies, demolished mosques and what appeared to be a child’s illustration of war rolled down the official Twitter page of Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa, a member of the royal family.

The pictures were captioned: “What the petrodollar media doesn’t show you,” a reference to the satellite television channels funded by neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The foreign ministry confirmed the hack, blaming it on the “terrorist party,” without elaborating.

Bahrain has been gripped by persistent unrest since 2011 when its Sunni rulers crushed protests led by its Shi’ite majority demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

The authorities have jailed several opposition leaders on charges of inciting violence but human rights groups say the mainstream opposition has remained peaceful.

Saturday’s hackers tagged their posts with the name and logo of Saraya al-Mukhtar, a Shi’ite militant group with a strong online presence and made threats against the ruling Al-Khalifa family.

“We take an oath before you – we demand the execution of King Hamad,” one tweet said.

Fake report

The hackers also spoke out against the treatment of Shi’ites in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition including Bahrain is fighting Shiite rebels who control the capital Sanaa.

Neighbouring Qatar is still investigating the May 24 hack of its official news agency website and Twitter account in which damaging comments about a raft of sensitive regional issues were falsely attributed to its ruler.

The hackers also posted a fake report that Qatar had severed relations with several neighbouring countries.

FBI experts are helping with the investigation, said sources close
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