Dubai security chief blasts Al Jazeera at summit to combat 'fake news'
Khalfan accuses Qatar of housing terrorists in 'five star hotels'
Dubai's security chief has launched an outspoken attack on Al Jazeera network, accusing the Qatar-based broadcaster of spreading misleading news that has contributed to terrorist acts.
Dahi Khalfan Tamim, head of General Security for the Emirate of Dubai, also said Doha had "aligned itself with terrorists and provided them with five star hotel accommodation", in reference to claims about senior Hamas officials and their residence in the capital.
The outspoken former Dubai Police chief was addressing delegates at a conference in Dubai on countering extremism and so-called fake news.
“What we see today in the Arab world is concrete evidence of the role played by misleading and biased media," he said.
"This fake news and misleading information has led to escalation in violence that turned into dangerous security crises adding a greater burden on the security services.”
Lieutenant General Khalfan said the crisis continues to dominate the agenda in the region.
"We arranged for this event before the Qatar crisis, but it takes place today while the GCC region is going through this crisis.
“The media is crucial element in shaping and changing the course of events during crises.
"Currently, we are facing destructive media. The Arab world is facing armies of social media users who spread rumours and baseless news that led to escalating violence and created a grave security crisis."
The police chief spoke as mediation efforts from the US and European countries have failed to ease tensions in the crisis, which erupted last month when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt boycotted Qatar over its links to terror groups.
Yesterday, it was announced that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Saudi, Qatar and Kuwait next week.
Ankara will be attempting to balance conflicting interests in the region, including retaining its military base in Qatar, which the quartet demanded be closed.
The base holds 150 Turkish troops but has the capacity for 5,000 and Turkey is continuing to send dozens of commandos.
Also yesterday, Egypt put an end to visa-free travel for Qatari citizens, though it listed exceptions, including for students.
“It does not make sense to keep making exceptions for Qatar and giving it privileges in light of its current positions,” said Ahmed Abu Zeid, a foreign ministry spokesman.
Updated: July 18, 2017 04:43 PM