Egypt will halt flights to and from Qatar beginning Tuesday, Reuters has reported citing the civil aviation ministry.
4: 52 pm
Bahrain suspends flights to Qatar
Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier, announced its daily service between Manama and Doha will be suspended until further notice.
Gulf state airlines announce flight cancellations through Doha, Qatar
Major airlines in the Gulf region have decided to cancel flights with connections going through Doha, Qatar’s Hamad International Airport.
Abu Dhabi based Etihad and Dubai-based Emirates are the first of four airlines to suspend flights “until further notice.” Dubai’s budget carrier, FlyDubai also followed Etihad and Emirates in the decision to cancel flights.
The most recent carrier to suspend flights is Saudi Arabian Airlines, also known as Saudia.
Flights from the Etihad, Emirates, FlyDubai and Saudia also will suspend flights to or transferring through Qatar.
Egyptair hadn’t formally announced any flight cancellations, but Monday’s 1 p.m. flight from Cairo to Doha has been delayed for more than five hours.
Hamad International Airport in Doha is a major transfer hub for international flights in the Middle East.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have announced they are severing diplomatic relations with Gulf neighbor Qatar, citing security concerns and Doha’s alleged links to Iranian-backed groups.
The countries asked the Qatar’s diplomats to leave their countries within 48 hours, and barred Qatari nationals from entering their states for 14 days and vice versa.
A Saudi Arabian official announced through its state-run news agency that the decision was made in part because of Qatar’s promotion and support of “Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh [ISIS] and Al-Qaeda.” The report claimed that Iran has been supporting these groups in the region and also Houthi militia in Yemen through Doha. The Saudis also closed their land sea and airports to Qatari entities.
Bahrain also announced the severing of all diplomatic relations with Qatar “in order to preserve national security.” Bahrain’s foreign ministry said Qatar has destabilized Bahrain, interferes in their affairs, escalates and incites through the media, supports “armed terrorist activities,” and has “funding linked to Iran groups to carry out sabotage.” The ministry’s statement said Qatari citizens needed to leave Bahrain within two weeks and that air and sea traffic between the two countries would be halted.
The United States urged unity for the Gulf States.
“We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.
“If there’s any role that we can play in terms of helping them address those, we think it is important that the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) remain united.”
The UAE’s foreign ministry says it is supportive of the statements issued by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, while affirming its “full commitment and full support” for the GCC.
Egypt’s foreign ministry announced similar air and sea port closures for all Qatari transportation in order “to protect its national security.”
As of Monday morning, Qatar’s state-run news agency website was inaccessible, as was its foreign ministry website.
Al-Jazeera reported Qatar’s foreign ministry said it regretted the measures by the Arab nations, calling the decisions “unjustified”.
“The measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact,” the statement said, adding that the decisions would “not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents”.
In addition to the cited security concerns, Qatar News Agency claims its website was hacked last week, when comments were falsely attributed to its emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The comments which Doha has categorically denied expressed support for Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Israel.
“There are international laws governing such crimes, especially the cyberattack. [The hackers] will be prosecuted according to the law,” Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s foreign minister, said on Wednesday, as reported by Al-Jazeera.
On May 22, Thani visited Baghdad where he met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
The Qatari statement said Abadi promised to accept a reciprocal invitation to visit Qatar “in the coming period,” while adding that the two countries were working to re-establish an Qatari embassy in Iraq.