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UAE says Qatari fighter jets intercepted civilian plane

April 22, 2018 at 1:16 pm

Qatari jets at the Al-Nathir Air Base in Doha on 30 November 2017. [Katar Savunma Bakanlığı/Handout]

The United Arab Emirates said Qatari fighter planes intercepted a civilian aircraft carrying 86 passengers to Bahrain on Sunday, UAE state news agency WAM reported.

Quoting its civil aviation authority, the agency said the UAE civilian craft had to take evasive manoeuvres to avoid a collision. It did not name the airliner involved.

Both countries have accused each other of a series of mid-air incidents since Abu Dhabi and other powers imposed travel, diplomatic and trade sanctions on Qatar in June.

Timeline: Arab rift with Qatar

In January 2018, the UAE claimed that Qatari fighter jets intercepted two of its commercial airliners in international airspace on the way to Bahrain. The claim was also made on UAE’s state-run WAM news agency and cited the country’s General Civil Aviation Authority.

Qatari authorities stronly denied that claim, calling it false, and instead accused Abu Dhabi of violating its airspace. In January, Qatar said it had informed the United Nations that an Emirati military aircraft bound for Manama violated its airspace in early January, noting that a similar incident took place in December 2017.

Last summer, the UAE — along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain — abruptly severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups in the region.

Qatar, for its part, vehemently denies the allegations, describing attempts to isolate it by its fellow Arab states as a violation of international law.