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Saudi Arabia claims Qatar blocking flights to Mecca

25 August 2017

"It is usual and customary for pilgrims from any country to be transported by the national air, land and sea travel organisations in that country, in addition to other foreign means of transportation, with the latter taking place as part of the national Haj mission", the statement said.

"Qatar to oversee its haj contingent and the transportation of Qatari pilgrims via their choice of airlines, Qatar Airways or otherwise", he added.

The airline's general manager, Saleh al-Jasser, said on Sunday that planes had not been allowed to land in the Qatari capital, Doha, despite a request days earlier.

He further said that more than 80 per cent of the pilgrims had already left Madina for Makkah where they performed lesser Hajj.

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An official source in the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority on Monday "described as baseless the news. that allegedly claimed that the state of Qatar refused to allow Saudi Airlines to transport the Qatari pilgrims", according to a report carried on the state-run QNA news agency. It is expected to draw around two million Muslims from around the world.

Saudi Arabia, together with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a full blockade on it in June, citing Doha's support for terrorism and interfering in the domestic affairs of its neighbours.

Qatar has denied the allegations. The ministry said the state of Qatar and Qatari pilgrims "don't need aid in terms of covering the cost of hajj and portraying it as a charity".

"Saudi Arabia should lift the embargo on the State of Qatar without restriction and enable".

Saudi Arabia claims Qatar blocking flights to Mecca