ABU DHABI, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) top diplomat said on Wednesday that the Qatari interception of two UAE aircraft on Monday reflects its "desperate attempt" for fear of marginalization.
It was "an escalation of concern and confusion" and "our response will be balanced and legal," Anwar Gargash, UAE minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on his twitter account.
On Monday morning, the UAE civil aviation authority GCCA said Qatari fighter jets intercepted two UAE passenger aircraft in one hour on their scheduled routine flight routes from Dubai to Manama, the capital of Bahrain.
Both airliners landed safely at the Al Bahrain International Airport but with a delay at the destination, it added.
According to Gulf news, the first plane was Emirates Airline flight 837. An Emirates Airline spokesperson, however, declined to comment when contacted on the phone over the incident.
Qatar has denied all the charges.
The incident came days after Qatar filed a complaint to the United Nations about a UAE military jet's alleged violation of its airspace in December.
The complaint was rejected by the UAE as "incorrect and confusing," and the UAE authorities said they were working to respond officially with evidence.
On Tuesday, the UAE government said in a statement that "the military aircraft was flying outside of Qatari airspace," UAE state news agency WAM reported.
In June 2017, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties as well as all air, sea and land links to Qatar, accusing the gas-rich Gulf state of supporting terrorism and aligning with Iran against Arab interests, which Doha has repeatedly denied.