Four Arab nations cut diplomatic ties to Qatar early Monday morning, further deepening a rift among Gulf Arab nations over that country’s support for Islamist groups, according to Reuters.
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar. The countries said they would halt all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, eject its diplomats and order Qatari citizens to leave the Gulf states within 14 days.
Qatar Airways has canceled flights to Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from Tuesday until further notice, the airline said on its website, a day after it had suspended flights to Saudi Arabia.
The airline said passengers holding a confirmed Qatar Airways ticket to any of the four countries between June 5 and July 6 are permitted to rebook their flights up to 30 days after their current departure date.
Among airlines, EgyptAir, flydubai and Bahrain’s Gulf Air joined Etihad and Emirates in saying they would suspend all flights to and from Doha. Qatar Airways said on its official website it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia on Monday banned Qatari airlines from its airspace, while Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Etihad Airways and Dubai’s Emirates Airline said they would suspend all flights to and from Doha from Tuesday morning until further notice.
The crisis was likely to have wide-ranging consequences, not just for Qatar and its citizens but around the Middle East and for Western interests. Qatar, gor instance, hosts the largest US air base in the region, which is crucial to operations against Islamic State group jihadists.