Rumors surfaced yesterday afternoon that the motorcade of Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, had been attacked by a suicide bomber en route to his palace, leaving him wounded and eight aides dead.
Needless to say, the assertions have proven anything but credible.
The only news outlet that appears to have reported the alleged incident is Algerian newspaper Echorouk (stating that there is a news blackout). The article cites Egypt’s Alnahar, but a search of that site yields nothing.
Claims of an assassination attempt were however, circulated widely on Twitter & Facebook.
Dismissing the unsubstantiated tweets, Foreign Policy managing editor and prolific tweeter Blake Hounshell, who resides in Doha, labeled the rumor “black propaganda”:
As far as I can tell the rumor of an assassination attempt on the emir of Qatar is Syrian black propaganda. Treat as false.
Everything is normal here in Doha.
Tip: Any “scoop” you see in an obscure Middle East media outlet was probably fabricated or planted by a security service.
Most Arab papers don’t have correspondents around the region. So if, say, an obscure Algerian paper claims a scoop in Qatar it’s likely BS.
Qatar’s emir made an appearance on Al Jazeera a few hours later for an interview denying any such attack.
Sheikh Hamad told the channel that Qatar would not back down on it’s demands for an end to the bloodshed in Syria, saying:
“After five months of mass protests in Syria, killings have become almost a daily affair. The Syrian people will not go back on their demands. So the question being raised is how to get out of this stalemate in the country.”
It isn’t the first time Qatar has been subjected to suspected Syrian propaganda attacks, in part due to Al Jazeera’s detailed coverage of the violence there.
Credit: Screengrab from Al Jazeera (Arabic) via Livestation