DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Four Arab nations cut diplomatic ties to Qatar early Monday morning, further deepening a rift between Gulf Arab nations over that country’s support for Islamist groups.
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar, a gas-rich nation that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Saudi Arabia said Qatari troops would be pulled from its ongoing war in Yemen.
All the nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic to the peninsular country. It wasn’t immediately clear how that would affect Qatar Airways, one of the region’s major long-haul carriers.
Qatari officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bahrain blamed Qatar’s “media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain” for its decision.
The decision comes after Qatar alleged in late May that hackers took over the site of its state-run news agency and published what it called fake comments from its ruling emir about Iran and Israel. Its Gulf Arab neighbors responded with anger, blocking Qatari-based media, including the Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera.
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