Four countries cut ties with Qatar over terror support
Riyadh : Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terror groups including the Muslim Brotherhood and interfering in its internal affairs.
"Qatar's policy threatens Arab national security and sows the seeds of strife and division within Arab societies according to a deliberate plan aimed at the unity and interests of the Arab nation," Al Ahram news quoted an Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement as saying.
The four countries announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar, and also the closure of its airspace and borders severing land, sea and air contact within the next 24 hours.
According to Saudi state news agency SPA, authorities announced that Qatari troops would be pulled from the ongoing war in Yemen due to Doha's "practices that strengthen terrorism" and its support to groups "including Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, as well as dealing with the rebel militias", reports the BBC.
In an official statement, Bahrain said Qatar has interfered with its internal affairs, engaged in negative media coverage against it, and supported terrorist activities and armed groups, as well as financed Iranian-backed groups that are responsible of vandalism and violence in the country, reports Xinhua news agency.
The country has asked Qatari diplomats to leave the country within 48 hours.
The UAE has also accused Qatar of "supporting, funding and embracing terrorism, extremism and sectarian organisations", according to state news agency WAM.
Monday's move comes after Qatar alleged that hackers last month 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, Al Ahram reported.
Its Gulf Arab neighbours responded with anger, blocking Qatari-based media, including the Doha-based satellite news network Al Jazeera.
In March 2014, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain had recalled their ambassadors from Qatar its alleged backing of then-Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member.
However, eight months later they returned their ambassadors as Qatar forced some Brotherhood members to leave the country and quieted others.