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UAE says Qatar fighter jets intercept flight; Doha denies it

WAM did not identify the carrier involved, nor did it elaborate on details of the purported encounter

AP  |  Dubai 

Qatar to buy 24 Typhoon jets from UK for $8-bn to boost military mission

The United Arab today claimed that Qatari fighter jets intercepted one of its commercial airliners in airspace on the way to Bahrain, an allegation promptly denied by a official.

The UAE's two major airlines declined to immediately comment.

The claim could further escalate tensions between and the four Arab nations that have been boycotting it for months, among them the UAE, home to the world's busiest airport.

It also follows two complaints by to the about Emirati military aircraft allegedly violating its airspace amid the diplomatic crisis.

The UAE's state-run news agency made the claim today, citing the country's

"The GCAA received a message from one of the UAE's national carriers on Monday morning that one of its aircraft on a flight to on a normal route had been intercepted by Qatari fighters," the report said.

"The flight was a regular, scheduled service on a known flight-path that met all the required and internationally recognised approvals and permits."

did not identify the carrier involved, nor did it elaborate on details of the purported encounter.

Saif Al Thani, a spokesman, denied the UAE's claim on Twitter, calling it "completely untrue." He promised a detailed statement would come later today.

The is home to two major national carriers, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Dubai-based Both airlines declined to comment when reached by

US Central Command, which is based at the sprawling in Qatar, also did not immediately have any report about any incident involving a commercial aircraft in the region, said Lt Col Damien Pickart, an

However, Pickart cautioned that US forces don't routinely monitor the flights and operations of the Qatari

The crisis began June 5 with Bahrain, Egypt, and the cutting off Doha's land, sea and air routes over its alleged support of extremists and close ties with

Qatar has long denied funding extremists.

It recently restored full diplomatic relations with Iran, with which it shares a that made the country and its about 250,000 citizens extremely wealthy.

Recently, Qatar accused Emirati military jets of violating its air space in December and January in two incidents, filing a complaint to the

Last night, an exiled Qatari ruling family member once promoted by amid its ongoing dispute with appeared in an online video, claiming he's being held against his will in the United Arab Emirates, an allegation denied by

The video of Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani, a little- known ruling family member until the Qatar crisis, also offered new fuel to the stalemated dispute.

It also recalled the bizarre, now-reversed resignation of Lebanese while on a trip Riyadh, a November 4 decision that was widely perceived as Saudi- orchestrated at the time.

First Published: Mon, January 15 2018. 17:13 IST