Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, UAE cut diplomatic ties with Qatar
Saudi Arabia cut all land air and sea contacts with Qatar 'and urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same'. Photograph: (Reuters)
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates announced on Monday they were severing diplomatic ties with Qatar, as they accused the Gulf state of supporting terrorism.
Saudi news agency SPA said Riyadh cut diplomatic ties and closed borders with its neighbour to "protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism".
A Saudi official cited by SPA said the country decided to "sever diplomatic and consular ties with Qatar, and to close all land, sea and aviation ports".
The "decisive" measure was due to the "gross violations committed by authorities in Qatar over the past years", the Saudi statement said, as the UAE made an announcement cutting ties.
Egypt's foreign ministry also accused Doha of supporting "terrorism" in a statement as it announced the severing of ties.
The statement said all Egyptian ports and airports would be closed to Qatari vessels.
Bahrain news agency said the tiny kingdom was cutting ties with Doha over its insistence on "shaking the security and stability of Bahrain and meddling in its affairs".
The decision follows allegations made by Qatar in late May that hackers took over the site of its state-run news agency and published 'fake comments' from its ruling emir about Iran and Israel. This didn’t go well with Qatar’s Arab neighbours who blocked Qatari-based media, including Al-Jazeera.
Qatar has long faced criticism from its Arab neighbours over its support of Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist political group.
Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have outlawed the group as it challenges the nations' hereditary rule.
Qatar citizens have been given 14 days and Qatar diplomats 48 hours to leave Bahrain.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen's two-year war also said it had expelled Qatar.
The coalition said the measure was due to Qatar's "practices that strengthen terrorism, and its support to (terrorist) organisations in Yemen, including Al-Qaeda and Daesh, as well as dealing with the rebel militias," according to a statement carried by SPA Saudi official news agency.
Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad Airways says it is suspending flights to Qatar amid Gulf diplomatic rift.