Group Claims Blast outside Qatar Airways' Office in Beirut

Published August 12th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

An organization opposed to the Qatari regime for its moderate stance toward Israel on Sunday claimed responsibility for a blast three days ago outside the Qatar Airways office in Beirut. 

"The Organization of Revolutionary Cells- Arab Gulf" took credit for Thursday's blast, which left one man lightly wounded on the Beirut seafront, "as signaling the launching of our operations against a regime which is being Zionised," said a statement faxed to AFP in Amman. 

The group attacked Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and his foreign minister, Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani, calling them "proteges of the Zionists and their American protectors." 

The group cited the suffering of the Palestinian people in the 10-month Palestinian uprising as the prime reason for acting against the "traitorous Qatari regime and its apostate diplomatic chief." 

A United Arab Emirate newspaper reported on August 1 that Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem had traveled to Israel for a secret meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. 

The statement also sniped at Qatari satellite news channel Al Jazeera, which enjoys sweeping popularity in the Arab world, as "a tool of the Zionists which spreads all that serves this malignant tumor called Israel." 

The group accused Al Jazeera of excluding coverage of anything which could serve the "cause of the Arab nation" and instead choosing to "provoke crisises (sic)." 

Qatar announced on July 13 that Israel would be attending the ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization in November. 

The Gulf emirate had frozen ties last year with the Jewish state, whose trade office in Doha was officially closed last November on the eve of an Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in Qatar amid heavy pressure from Muslim countries. 

But Qatar has since admitted to the continued presence of lower-level staff still operating phones for the Israeli trade office -- AMMAN (AFP) 

 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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