A top Emirati security official has called for bombing the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television network after blaming the pan-Arab broadcaster for the latest mosque attack in Egypt, which claimed the lives of no less than 300 people.
Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan, who is in charge of the security arrangement in Dubai, wrote on Twitter accusing Al Jazeera of sparking the extremist attack in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula through its coverage of the region.
"The alliance must bomb the machine of terrorism ... the channel of ISIL, al-Qaeda and the al-Nusra front, Al Jazeera the terrorists," wrote Khalfan on Twitter, where he has a following of close to 2.5 million accounts.
"For how long will they [Al Jazeera] continue to tamper with the security of Egypt and the Arab world?" Khalfan asked in one of the series of tweets.
Nearly two dozen masked assailants launched a coordinated gun and bomb attack on the al-Rawdah mosque in a sleepy village when the Friday prayers were on. Though no group has openly claimed responsibility for the onslaught as yet, fingers of suspicion are being pointed at the Islamic State, or Isis, as the attackers carried a banner of the Sunni Islamist group.
The UAE is one of the multiple Arab states – Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain – which has imposed a blockade on Qatar over a series of grievances including accusations against Al Jazeera. The network has had acrimonious relations with many Gulf states in the past due to its coverage of key geopolitical matters.
The broadcaster, backed by the Qatari regime, has responded to the latest threat from the Dubai security chief by saying: "What Dhahi Khalfan is doing is [an] incitement to terrorism. Terrorism is not just limited to committing a crime, but any act or statement that paves the way for a terrorist act or incites it, and incitement to terrorism is terrorism itself."
Khalfan is also not new to making controversial remarks, which included his "complete support" for US President Donald Trump's Muslim ban. He also called on key Sunni powers in the volatile region to rein in "enemies of the Middle East" with the help of Israel, referring to Iran.