Arab League chief regrets split between Arab states and Qatar

The diplomatic broadside threatens the global prestige of Qatar which is set to host the 2022 World Cup.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut relations with Qatar in a coordinated move. Qataris visiting or living in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or the UAE have 14 days to leave.

Riyadh cut diplomatic relations and closed borders with its neighbour to "protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism", the official Saudi Press Agency said.

Local media in Qatar reported there was already some panic buying by people stocking up on food.

The Qatar Stock Exchange tumbled eight percent on opening and eventually closed down 7.58 percent.

Cairo has accused Al-Jazeera of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood which it blames for violence after Egypt's military ousted the movement from power in 2013.

Bahrain blamed Qatar's "media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain" for its decision.

"There is a wider impact than Qatar Airways not being able to land in markets like Saudi and UAE since those markets are significant sources for transfer traffic", said Will Horton, a senior analyst at CAPA Centre for Aviation in Melbourne.

For years now Iran and Saudi Arabia have been accusing each other of sponsoring terrorism but it remains unclear what the consequences of cutting these diplomatic ties will be.

The common denominator of these articles was their call on the United States government to reconsider its relations with Qatar and move its military air base from Al Udeid to another Gulf country.

Less than a month ago, US President Donald Trump visited the region to cement ties with powerhouse Saudi Arabia - the first foreign stop of his young presidency.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the Gulf nations to resolve their differences.

Qatar is home to three U.S. airbases and plays a role in collective defense efforts for the region.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Qatar's ministry of foreign affairs said: "Qatar has been exposed to an instigation campaign based on allegations that amounted to absolute fabrications, which proves that there are premeditated intentions to cause damage to the State".

The dispute between Qatar and the Gulf's Arab countries started over a purported hack of Qatar's state-run news agency.

The stories quoted him questioning US hostility toward Iran, speaking of "tensions" between Doha and Washington, and speculating that Trump might not remain in power for long.

Doha denied the comments and said it had been the victim of a "shameful cybercrime".

Gas-rich Doha, which has long exercised an independent streak in its foreign policy, last month denied comments which appeared on its official news agency questioning United States hostility towards Iran.

Kuwait and Oman, however, did not embrace the Saudi decision to isolate Qatar.

Trump nevertheless met with Qatar's emir during the Saudi conference last month.