Qatar denies intercepting UAE civilian jets

Frederick Owens
January 17, 2018

The plane was on a routine flight to Bahrain's capital, Manama, the UAE's official news agency WAM reported on Monday (Jan 15).

The UAE news agency WAM quoted Suwaidi as saying on Monday that the intercepts happened at 10:30 a.m. and 11:05 a.m.

"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.

UAE local media are reporting that the flight involved was the EK837 travelling between Dubai and Bahrain. The GCAA did not immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press.

"The UAE's permanent mission to the United Nations in NY has delivered the state's response [to Qatar's allegations]", WAM quoted Yacoub Yousef al-Hosani, UAE assistant minister of foreign affairs, as saying. It identified the flight as ETD23B, which corresponds to Etihad flight No. EY371, a direct Abu Dhabi-Bahrain flight that took off Monday morning.

Two other radar signals described as Qatari fighter jets flew at around 2,590 meters and crossed briefly in front of the Emirates plane's flight path.

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One plane belonged to Emirates airline and had taken off from Dubai, according to Bahrain authorities.

Yacoub Al Hosani, assistant minister of foreign affairs and worldwide co-operation, said that UAE's permanent mission to the United Nations handed over to the global organisation its official response to Qatar's allegation.

Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, Qatari government spokesman, denied the UAE's claim on Twitter.

Sheikh Abdullah earlier appeared in a viral video aired by Doha-based news network Al Jazeera saying that he was invited by Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed, who later held him against his own will. That plane left Dubai nearly an hour later than scheduled and arrived in Manama 32 minutes later, according to the Emirates website, slightly longer than its scheduled journey time of 20 minutes.

A member of the royal family of Qatar has claimed he is being detained in United Arab Emirates. This has been the standard route of all Emirati commercial airliners since the crisis began. However, Pickart cautioned that USA forces don't routinely monitor the flights and operations of the Qatari air force. It recently restored full diplomatic ties with Iran, with which it shares a massive offshore natural gas field.

"We have observed in the past similar behavior by the blockading nations where rights of individuals and officials alike are violated in total contravention of worldwide norms, conventions and laws with no clear objective or valid reasoning", al-Khater said. Its regional feeder flights in Saudi Arabia and the UAE also have been cut off.

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