UAE civil aviation authority says Qatari fighter jets intercepted civilian plane Sunday

Sunday’s incident is not the first time the UAE has accused Qatar’s military of intercepting its civilian aircraft. (AFP)
Updated 23 April 2018
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UAE civil aviation authority says Qatari fighter jets intercepted civilian plane Sunday

  • The UAE civil aviation authority says fighter jets flew “dangerously close” to a UAE civilian jet
  • Authorities say threatening the safety and well-being of civilian travelers in any way is a “completely unacceptable act”

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates said on Sunday that Qatari fighter planes had intercepted a civilian aircraft carrying 86 passengers aboard a flight bound for Bahrain, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
According to the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, GCAA, the civilian aircraft was on a scheduled flight “after obtaining all the necessary approvals as per the international regulations, procedures and agreements.”

In a statement issued through WAM, the GCAA said the Qatari fighter jets flew “very close” to the Emirati aircraft, less than 700 feet, “leaving just a few seconds for the captain to maneuver his way away to avoid being hit, thus jeopardizing the safety of travelers onboard."

The GCAA has further stated that threatening the safety and well-being of civilian travelers in any way is a “completely unacceptable act,” and it will file a case with the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, against this aggression.

The airliner involved has not been identified.

 

 
“Qatari jets chased the UAE passenger plane and came close to it leaving just seconds before collision... a very dangerous and unsafe approach which endangered the lives of passengers,” the authority said in a statement cited by news agency WAM.

Bahrain’s civil aviation agency said in a statement cited by news agency NBA that the Airbus 320 was travelling from Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia to UAE capital Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi’s airport is the main hub for Etihad Airways – however neither Etihad nor Emirates airlines were prepared to comment.

Sunday’s incident is not the first time the UAE has accused Qatar’s military of intercepting its civilian aircraft.

In January this year two Qatari jets flew dangerously close to two civilian aircraft traveling from the UAE while they were in Bahraini airspace, the Emirates civil aviation authority.

According to state news agency WAM the General Civil Aviation Authority condemned “provocative action,” at the time, which it said followed two similar incidents that had been reported by the UAE to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ aviation agency.

Qatar denied the claim in a statement by its civil aviation authority saying the UAE was trying to cover up for its own violations of Qatari airspace.

(With Reuters and AFP)

FASTFACTS

The dispute

Qatar - under boycott by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt over alleged support for Islamist extremist groups and ties with Iran - is banned from using its rivals' airspace.


Bahrain strips 115 of nationality over ‘terrorism’: public prosecutor

Updated 15 May 2018
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Bahrain strips 115 of nationality over ‘terrorism’: public prosecutor

DUBAI: A court in Bahrain revoked the citizenship of 115 people and gave 53 of them life sentences on terrorism charges, the public prosecutor said on Tuesday, in one of the most severe rulings yet in the Gulf island kingdom.
Authorities in Western-backed Bahrain have accused scores of people of militancy in a series of mass trials, saying the defendants are backed by Iran. Rights activists say they have included mostly peaceful opposition members.
This case pertains to Bahrain's allegation in 2015 that Iranian Revolutionary Guards helped Shiite Bahraini fugitives join forces to set up a militant group called the Zulfiqar Brigades to destabilise the country.
Prosecutors accused 138 people of "being behind a number of explosions, possession of explosives and training in the use of weapons and explosives and the attempted murder of police officers", the prosecutor said in a statement.
Fifty-three defendants were sentenced to life terms, 62 to between three and 15 years in prison, while 23 were acquitted.
Bahrain, where the US Fifth Fleet is based, has been waging a crackdown on Shi’ite opposition groups and rights activists since they led pro-democracy Arab Spring protests in 2011, a campaign that has been condemned internationally.
Bahrain has accused the opposition of undermining security and blamed the bombings on Iran and Lebanon’s armed Shi’ite group Hezbollah. Iran and Hezbollah deny any involvement in Bahrain’s unrest.