Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain have severed diplomatic links with Qatar amid growing tensions in the Gulf.

The four countries accuse Qatar of fuelling instability in the region.

Bahrain says it is also closing its airspace, ports and territorial waters to air traffic and shipping to and from Qatar, as well as banning its citizens from travelling to Qatar or staying there and not allowing Qatari citizens to enter or transit through Bahrain.

Tensions rose between Qatar and the rest of the GCC bloc in May, when Qatar’s state news agency quoted the country’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as criticising renewed tensions with Tehran, expressing an understanding for Shia group Hezbollah and Palestine’s militant group Hamas, and suggesting US President Donald Trump might not “last long in power”.

The comments were immediately denied by Doha.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE proceeded to block several Qatari news websites, including state-owned Aljazeera.

The rift was further exacerbated when it was reported that Qatar’s ruler had held a phone conversation with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani regarding the conflict between the GCC and Iran.

In late May, a UAE minister expressed concerns over the recent spat between GCC countries and said the region is going through a “severe” crisis.

The comments were made by Anwar Gargash, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, on his Twitter account on 28 May. “Fending off strife needs a change in behaviour, building confidence and restoring credibility,” he tweeted.

There have been efforts to cool tensions. On 26 May, Kuwait’s foreign minister met Qatar’s ruler for talks that appeared to be aimed at trying to ease renewed tensions between Qatar and fellow Gulf states over its policy toward Iran and regional Islamist groups.

Kuwait served as a mediator the last time tensions rose between the two countries in 2014, when Doha was accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.