Qatar’s $1-billion ransom deal to release royal family members kidnapped in Iraq was allegedly one of the reasons the Gulf monarchies’ decided to sever diplomatic ties with Doha, the Financial Times (FT) reports, citing sources close to the case.
In particular, the newspaper’s report refers to commanders of militant groups and government officials with knowledge of the hostage deal. According to them, Doha spent around $1 billion to secure the release of 26 members of a Qatari hunting party in southern Iraq and about 50 militants captured by Islamists in Syria.
In April, 26 royals, many of them cousins of the Qatari emir, were handed over to the Iraqi government by the local Shia Kataib Hezbollah group, believed to be behind the kidnapping, which happened during a December 2015 falconry trip in Iraq.
According to FT sources, Qatar ended up paying ransom to both Iranian security officials and Islamists, causing uproar in Gulf capitals. Read more at RT.