UAE says Qatari jets came too close to passenger flight

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Emirates Airline. PHOTO: TWITTER

The United Arab Emirates said on Sunday that Qatari fighter jets narrowly avoided a UAE passenger flight over neighbouring Bahrain, the latest in a series of such claims.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority said the incident took place at midday Sunday and the captain of the flight with 86 passengers onboard had “to make a quick manoeuvre to avoid collision”.

“Qatari jets chased the UAE passenger plane and came close to it leaving just seconds before collision… a very dangerous and unsafe approach which endangered the lives of passengers,” the authority said in a statement cited by news agency WAM.

It said the UAE would be filing a complaint to the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Bahrain’s civil aviation agency said in a statement cited by news agency NBA that the Airbus 320 was travelling from Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia to UAE capital Abu Dhabi.

The UAE and Qatar have in the past few months regularly accused each other of airspace violations.

Qatar — under boycott by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt over alleged support for Islamist extremist groups and ties with Iran — is banned from using its rivals’ airspace.