Two UAE planes ‘intercepted by Qatar
Two UAE planes ‘intercepted by Qatar

Two UAE planes ‘intercepted by Qatar


The UAE Civil Aviation Authority said the two Emirati airliners carrying 277 passengers were intercepted by Qatar military jets. The Dubai government’s airline was flying from Emirates to Bahrain.

Experts said that the incident will intensify the enmity between Qatar and other four gulf countries, Saudi, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.

It condemned the Qatari action as "a serious and renewed breach of international conventions and the safety of civil aircraft traffic”. UAE said that one of the planes was intercepted at 10.30 am, and the second at 11.05 am at between 9,000 and 10,000 feet.

But Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed al-Thani, director of Qatar's government communications office, has rejected the UAE charge as "completely untrue".

The Bahraini state news agency BNA said the first flight was from Emirates, which is owned by the Dubai government, but gave no details on the second flight.

UAE Civil aviation director Saif al-Suwaidi said: "Bahraini radars have tracked the Qatari military planes while intercepting the Emirati civilian aircraft. The incident could also be seen by the naked eye by both the crew and passengers, which constitutes a clear threat to the lives of innocent civilians.”

Earlier, Qatar alleged that Sheikh Abdullah Bin Ali Al-Thani, a descendant of Qatar's founder, was captivated by UAE. Qatar accused the U.A.E. of holding him against his will. But U.A.E. had rejected this allegation by Qatar.

The cascade of allegations and denials is raising concerns that the conflict between Qatar and a group of four Arab nations is heating up again after a period of relative calm. Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and transport links with gas-rich Qatar in June, accusing it of destabilizing the region by supporting terrorism, a charge it denies. U.S. and Kuwait attempts to mediate have failed to break the deadlock.

Shares drop in Qatar

Qatar's benchmark stocks index reversed gains after the first reported interception, dropping 2.5 percent at the close in Doha, the biggest fall since the dispute broke out in June. Dubai stocks also extended losses.

"The U.A.E. will seek to preserve its relationship with the U.S. defense and security establishment, and will therefore probably not opt for an immediate escalation," said Ayham Kamel, head of the Middle East and North Africa at Eurasia Group. But while a military confrontation in the Gulf crisis "is very unlikely, it's far from inconceivable," he said.

The U.S. Air Force Central Command, which has a regional headquarters at Qatar's al-Udeid Air Base, didn't immediately respond to a request from Bloomberg seeking comment on Monday.

Separately, President Donald Trump spoke with Sheikh Tamim Monday to discuss ways to strengthen U.S.-Qatari relations on security and economic issues, according to a White House statement, which didn't reference the allegations of intercepted planes.

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