5 Arab states cut ties with Qatar as row escalates

PUBLISHED Mon, June 05, 2017 - 2:49am EDT

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Yemen, have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of interfering in their internal affairs and supporting terrorist groups. It follows weeks of rising tensions in the region. (more)

The moves came less than two weeks after Qatar's state-run news agency issued a controversial statement from Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The agency later claimed that it had been hacked to distribute the statement.

Tensions have been rising rapidly since the release of the statement, which criticized Saudi Arabia while praising its arch-rival Iran. "There is no reason behind Arabs' hostility to Iran and our relationship with Israel is good," the emir's alleged statement said in part, according to a translation from the BBC.

Media outlets in Saudi Arabia and several others continued to report on the emir's alleged comments, even though Qatar insisted they were fake. The comments also went viral on social media and were shared many thousands of times.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government all announced on Monday morning that it had decided to cut diplomatic relations with Qatar. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have ordered Qatari citizens to leave their country within 14 days.

In addition, the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen has expelled Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups in the war-torn country. Saudi Arabia will also close its land border with Qatar, while Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE will close all sea and air connections to and from Qatar.

The Qatari government expressed regret over the "unjustified" moves, saying they were based on false allegations. Qatar's stock market index QSI fell about 8 percent in early trade.

As a result of Monday's decisions, Emirati airline Emirates said it will suspend all flights to and from Qatar, effective early Tuesday morning. Etihad Airways, also from the United Arab Emirates, said it will cancel all flights to and from Qatar starting late Monday evening.






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