QATAR PRESSURED TO EXPEL HAMASBY SETH J. FRANTZMAN JUNE 4, 2017 22:28 Gulf countries slam the nation for supporting Islamists.
Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh (R) and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani arrive at a cornerstone laying ceremony in the southern Gaza Strip. (photo credit:REUTERS)
Reports emerged in the Arab press on Sunday that Qatar would expel Hamas officials based in its capital, Doha.
According to Al Mayadeen, a channel considered close to Iran and the Syrian regime, Qatar regretted the decision, but said “external pressure” had been placed on Qatar to reduce its relationship with Hamas.
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This pressure has come from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s Riyadh speech, where he urged the country to “drive out” extremists. Khaled Mashaal, the former head of Hamas, has resided in Qatar since 2012.
On Monday the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt broke ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.
The pressure on Qatar is part of its wider war of words between Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, which accuse Qatar of destabilizing the region through support of Islamists.