Qatar may have paid $1 billion in ransom for release of royal family members captured while hunting with falcons

A ransom payment of up to $1 billion to Iranian and al-Qaeda-linked forces in Syria may have been the tipping point for Qatari-Gulf Arab relations, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Qatar paid out the hefty ransom to secure the release of 26 members of a falconry party, some of whom were members of Qatar's royal family, who had been hunting in southern Iraq, "commanders of militant groups and government officials in the region" told the Financial Times.

The news of Qatar's ransom comes after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and a powerful military leader in Libya all severed ties with Doha on Monday.

SPA, a Saudi state news agency, said that the kingdom cut ties because Qatar "embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly," according to Reuters.

Middle east map saudi arabia qatar bahrain iranGoogle Maps

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain represent the most prominent of the Gulf Arab states and premier powers in the Sunni Islam world, which rivals Iran and their Shia influence in the Middle East.

Qatar and the other Gulf Arab states have sparred in the past over Qatar's softer stance on Iran and their support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist organization founded in Egypt, but a source told the Financial Times that "the ransom payments are the straw that broke the camel's back."

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Countries that cut ties with Qatar
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Countries that cut ties with Qatar

Saudi Arabia

In this photo, OPEC President, Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, and OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo talk to journalists before the beginning of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Egypt

In this photo, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) meets with the Head of the National Iraqi Alliance, Ammar Al-Hakim at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt April 18, 2017 in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency. Picture taken April 18, 2017. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout

United Arab Emirates

In this photo, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, center, attends the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Bahrain

In this photo, U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Maldives

In this photo, Maldives former president Mohamed Nasheed speaks during an interview with Reuters in Colombo, Sri Lanka March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

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Read the full article at the Financial Times here.

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SEE ALSO: Qataris are scrambling to stock up on money and food after Arab nations cut off ties with country


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