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Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain cut ties to Qatar

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have severed diplomatic ties with Gulf Arab state Qatar, in an unexpected move designed to punish the country for its ties with Iran and terrorist groups in the region.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and the Maldives say they are severing diplomatic relations with Qatar.

The Saudi kingdom made the announcement via its state-run Saudi Press Agency early on Monday, saying it was taking action for what it called the protection of national security.

The news agency released a statement in which it accused Qatar of "harbouring a multitude of terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to create instability in the region".