Did Russian hackers plant fake news that led to Qatar crisis?

Saudi Arabia said relations with Doha can only be restored if it stops funding extremists, but Riyadh has also been accused of doing the same.

Qatar is heavily dependent on food imports and residents have been queuing at supermarkets to stockpile. Qatar is home to the biggest USA military air base in the Middle East and Washington officials say operations have not yet been affected, but this could change if the diplomatic row between Qatar and the U.S.

While applauding a Kuwaiti effort to mediate the crisis, Gargash said Emirati and Saudi officials planned to concede nothing to Qatar, an worldwide air travel hub now cut off from some of the skies around it and blocked from receiving the trucks full of food it relies on to feed its citizens.

"I think every country in the region has their own obligations they need to live up to", Tillerson said in New Zealand, "and they have their own challenges to live up to that commitment to terminate support for terrorism, extremism, however it manifests itself anywhere in the world".

"This is a very diverse relationship that Qatar has with the UAE and with Saudi and Bahrain - families, business, travel, interests".

"This is the strongest accusation to date of Qatar being connected with terrorism".

"We hope that cooler heads will prevail, that wiser heads will prevail and we will not get to that", Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, told Reuters in an interview.

- Qatari nationals will not be allowed to board flights of Australia's national carrier Qantas to Dubai because the UAE has banned them from passing through its airports, an executive at the airline said.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said isolating Qatar, including the use of sanctions, would not resolve any problems.

Separately, Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the upper chamber of parliament, on Wednesday dismissed the accusations as "an attempt to push the USA against Russian Federation as key players in the Middle East".

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Government spokesman Christophe Castaner said: "Qatar must ensure transparency". "Many travellers and corporate accounts could blacklist Qatar Airways".

"The world has gone insane", Dzhabarov said.

Qatar is one of Hamas's staunchest allies.

US intelligence officials believe Russian hackers planted a false news story that led Saudi Arabia and several allies to sever relations with Qatar, prompting a diplomatic crisis, CNN reported on Tuesday. The Saudi ports authority said Qatari-flagged shipping vessels are barred from docking.

The tiny, peninsular monarchy of Qatar depends on sea routes and its land border with Saudi Arabia for almost all its consumer goods.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have revoked the licences of Qatar Airways and ordered its offices to close.

Beyond hosting US troops, Qatar has invested billions in the USA and increased its clout in Washington along the way.

The UAE meanwhile warned that anyone showing sympathy with Qatar could face jail time or fines.

This article was posted on Wednesday, 09:56, UTC.

Shortly after Trump's tweet, the White House released a statement saying that the US President and King Salman discussed ways to prevent terror financing and eliminate extremism in any country in the region.

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