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Qatar has denied that it supports terrorist groups and said in a statement on Monday that its neighbors' decision to cut ties was 'founded on allegations that have no basis in fact'.
More than 30 flights were shown cancelled on airport television screens and the departures hall was eerily quiet.Gulf neighbors withdrew their ambassadors in 2014 over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood group in Egypt, where the group was ousted.The deal to release the group was reached in April and again heightened concerns among Arab nations that Qatar supports terrorist groups.'The ransom payments are the straw that broke the camel's back,' one Gulf observer told the the Financial Times.Qatar paid the ransom to al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria and Iranian security officials, commanders of militant groups and government officials in the region claimed.Pictured above, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani (pictured in 2014) attends a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Doha, Qatar The country's ambitious foreign policy efforts haven't always succeeded.The Gulf states and Egypt banned all flights to and from Qatar and ordered Qatari citizens to leave within 14 days.
Countries including Saudi Arabia also banned Qatari flights from their airspace and Riyadh closed its land border with Qatar, sparking panic buying in Doha amid fears of food shortages.
Qatar paid the ransom to al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria and Iranian security officials, a person involved in ransom negotiations said in April.
The incident was sparked when the group was kidnapped December 16, 2015 from a desert camp for falcon hunters in southern Iraq.
Qatar Airways, for its part, said it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt 'until further notice'.
Saudi Arabia also announced it was revoking Qatar Airways' operating license.
It was revealed on Monday that one of the tipping points for Qatari-Gulf Arab relations could have been a ransom Qatar officials paid earlier this year.