Six Arab nations cut diplomatic ties to Qatar early Monday, further deepening a rift among Gulf Arab nations over that country's support for Islamist groups. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia first made the move, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya, reports the BBC. The nations were withdrawing their diplomatic staffs and cutting air and sea traffic to the peninsular country, per the AP. It wasn't immediately clear how that would affect Qatar Airways, one of the region's major long-haul carriers. Bahrain blamed Qatar's "media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain" for its decision. Other countries issued similar statements.
Qatar is home to the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, where the US military's Central Command and some 10,000 American troops are based. It wasn't clear if the decision would affect American military operations. Qatar has strongly denied it funds extremist groups, though it remains a key financial patron of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Western officials also have accused Qatar of allowing or even encouraging funding of Sunni extremists like al-Qaeda's branch in Syria. (Read more Qatar stories.)