Qatar said Thursday it is looking into the fate of two of its citizens reportedly detained in the United Arab Emirates, a day after Emirati media reported that Qatari intelligence agents were being held by the federation.
The Emirates had joined neighbors Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in pulling its ambassador from Qatar earlier this year in a move based in part on Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
A statement posted on the official Qatar News Agency, quoting the Foreign Ministry, said Qatar’s ambassador to the UAE was tasked with inquiring about the status of citizens Hamad Ali al-Hammadi and Yousuf Abdul-Samad al-Mulla after their families complained they had been detained at the Emirati border crossing of al-Ghuwaifat.
”Qatar has not been officially informed of what had happened to the two citizens,” the brief statement added.
The Emirati daily Al-Khaleej, citing an unnamed Emirati source, reported Wednesday that alleged Qatari intelligence operatives had been detained by the UAE.
Another Emirati newspaper, the English-language Gulf News, carried a similar report. It alleged that the men were trying to re-establish al-Islah, an Islamist group suspected of ideological ties to the Brotherhood.
The Emirates, a seven-state federation that includes the capital Abu Dhabi and the commercial hub of Dubai, is firmly opposed to the Brotherhood and backed a March decision by Saudi Arabia to brand the organization a terrorist group. Egypt has also labeled the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
Emirati courts have jailed dozens of people allegedly linked to Brotherhood-affiliated groups on state security charges, including a Qatari doctor sentenced to seven years behind bars in March.