Arab nations sever ties with Qatar as Gulf rift deepens

Arab nations sever ties with Qatar as Gulf rift deepens
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani

Four Arab nations have cut diplomatic ties to Qatar, further deepening a rift between Gulf Arab nations over the country's support for Islamist groups.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced today they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar, a natural gas-rich nation that is hosting the 2022 World Cup.

Saudi Arabia said Qatari troops would be pulled from its continuing war in Yemen.

The four nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic to the peninsular country.

It was not 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 claimed 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 neighbours responded with anger, blocking Qatari-based media, including the Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera.

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