UAE accuses Qatar warplanes of intercepting civilian flights

UAE detains Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani

Sharjah-based Air Arabia, another budget carrier that operates direct flights to Bahrain International Airport in Manama, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"Sheikh Abdullah enjoyed the warm welcome and gracious hospitality during his stay in the UAE, after he was harassed by Qatari Government".

"Moreover, the crews and passengers saw the incidents with their naked eyes, which proves that the interception posed a present and clear threat to the lives of innocent civilians", he said.

The General Civil Aviation Authority said the flight was on a regular scheduled trip with all necessary permits and approvals when it was "intercepted by Qatari fighters", according to state news agency WAM.

Last June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain abruptly cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups in the region.

Qatar has long denied funding extremists.

Qatar's rivals banned Qatari aircraft from their air space though Doha did not reciprocate with a ban of its own.

Meanwhile, Qatar Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lolwa al-Khater released a statement saying that the country is observing the situation "closely".

She said: "It seems that the Civil Aviation Authority in the UAE, by publishing false claims, is trying to pre-empt events and cover over news of the Emirati plane penetration of Qatari airspace". Qatari authorities said the violation on December 21, which the UAE denied, lasted one minute. The claim was denied by Emirati officials on Sunday. I am now detained'. I am afraid that anything could happen to me, and the people of Qatar would be blamed.

"I am a guest of Sheikh Mohammed but it is not hosting now, it is now an imprisonment", Sheikh Abdullah says.

"Shaikh Abdullah Al Thani expressed his desire to leave the UAE and was provided with all help needed to facilitate his departure from the UAE", the ministry source said.

Sheikh Abdullah also met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on several occasions, though Doha claimed the meeting was part of a personal trip and that the Sheikh was not there in any official capacity.

"Qatar first needs to intercept the Iranian and Israeli planes that are roaming its airspace instead of intercepting a civilian plane belonging to our brothers", he said in his remarks on Monday via his Twitter account.



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