The civilian jet was crossing airspace run by Bahrain when it was shadowed by fighter planes on Sunday. The approaching military aircraft came so close that the passenger plane was forced to take evasive action, according to Emirati civil aviation authorities cited by the UAE state news agency.
Bahrain’s aviation authority also issued a statement Sunday criticizing the actions of the Qatari military jets, stating that the passenger plane was over international waters when it came under threat.
“[T]his incident constitutes a clear violation of international regulations, threatens the safety and integrity of international air traffic, poses serious risk… and threatens the lives of passengers and property,” the authority’s statement read.
In 2017, several Arab nations – including Bahrain and the UAE – hit Qatar with sanctions, including banning Emirati aircraft from entering their airspace. At the time, the countries said the sanctions were in relation to Qatar’s alleged ties to terrorist organizations, which Qatar denied. In August, Saudi Arabia threatened to shoot down any commercial Qatari plane that violated its airspace.
RT.com has reached out to the government of Qatar for comment.
In January, Qatar was accused of using military aircraft to “harass” flights from the UAE to Bahrain. Qatari government communications officer Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani denied the accusations, labelling them “completely untrue.”
The State of Qatar announces that claims that Qatari fighter jets intercepting an Emirati civilian aircraft is completely untrue. A detailed statement will follow.
— سيف بن أحمد آل ثاني (@saifaalthani) January 15, 2018