The United Arab Emirates said on Monday Qatari air force jets had twice intercepted its civilian aircraft during routine flights to Bahrain, but Qatar called the claim “completely untrue”.
Qatar said the allegation, reported by the UAE’s state news agency WAM, was intended to divert attention from what it said were violations by Emirati military aircraft of its airspace.
The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority said two Emirati airliners, carrying 277 passengers, had encountered the jets from Qatar, which lies between the UAE and Bahrain, while en route to Bahrain, according to WAM.
One of the planes was intercepted at 10:30 a.m., and the second at 11:05 a.m. at between 9,000 and 10,000 feet. The report did not specify a date, but appeared to mean the incidents happened on Monday.
“Bahraini radars have tracked the Qatari military planes while intercepting the Emirati civilian aircraft,” WAM quoted civil aviation director Saif al-Suwaidi as saying.
The UAE is one of four Arab countries, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, that imposed travel, diplomatic and trade sanctions on Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism.
Qatar has denied the charges and accused the four countries of trying to make it conform to their foreign policy positions.
Qatar’s rivals have banned Qatari aircraft from their airspace but Doha has not reciprocated with a ban of its own.
Read full article on Reuters, January 15, 2018