Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism, opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.
The coordinated move dramatically escalates a dispute over Qatar's support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world's oldest movement, and adds accusations that Doha even backs the agenda of regional arch-rival Iran.
Economic disturbances loomed immediately, as Abu Dhabi's state-owned Ethihad Airways said it would suspend all flights to and from Doha from Tuesday morning until further notice.
Announcing the closure of transport ties with Qatar, the three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their countries. Qatar was also expelled from a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.
Oil giant Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of backing militant groups and broadcasting their ideology, in an apparent reference to Qatar's influential state-owned satellite channel Al Jazeera.
The statement accused Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in its restive Eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain."(Qatar) embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh and al-Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly," the Saudi state news agency SPA said. Qatar
said on Monday it was facing a campaign of lies and fabrications aimed at putting the Gulf Arab state under guardianship, after Saudi Arabia
, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with it.
"The campaign of incitement is based on lies that had reached the level of complete fabrications," the Qatari foreign ministry said.
It added that, as a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, it was committed to its charter, respected the sovereignty of other states and did not interfere in their affairs.