Saudis demand Qatar cut ties with Hamas; terror group ‘shocked’

Saudi Arabia is calling on Qatar to cut ties with Hamas. The terror group expressed shock over the demand. 

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Tuesday demanded that Qatar cut ties with the Hamas Palestinian terror group as a prerequisite to restoring ties with Gulf states. Several countries, led by Saudi Arabia, severed or downgraded their diplomatic ties with Qatar earlier this week

Al-Jubeir’s remarks “constitute a shock for our Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic nations,” Hamas said in a statement on Wednesday.

Hamas alleged that Israel “exploits these statements to carry out more violations against the Palestinian people.”

Qatar has hosted Hamas leaders and financed major projects in Gaza, including its terror network and military buildup.

Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said Saudi Arabia’s demand was “regrettable” and contradicts traditional Arab support for the Palestinian cause. He also accused Saudi Arabia of siding with “American and Zionist calls to put Hamas on the terrorism list.”

Al-Masri’s strongly worded criticism of regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia was unusual for Hamas.

Qatar has been one of the few foreign backers of internationally shunned Hamas, an Islamic terror group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, have cut ties with Qatar and moved to isolate the Gulf nation, accusing it of supporting terrorism and aligning with Iran.

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Qatar has denied the allegations.

Speaking in Berlin on Wednesday, al-Jubeir said he hopes Qatar will respond “soon” to demands put forward by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt to “restore relations to how they were in the past.”

“The issue goes back many years,” he said, stressing there was an “understanding” that Qatar would “take measures in relation to supporting some organizations and … some individuals,” but that Qatar had not lived up to its commitments.

By: World Israel News Staff and AP