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Land border closure halts Qatari shopping, investment in Saudi’s Al-Ahsa

Land border closure halts Qatari shopping, investment in Saudi’s Al-Ahsa

Qatari shoppers would buy food and construction materials to take back over the border

Qataris who own land and property and regularly shop over the Saudi border in Al Ahsa are expected to be among the most affected by Monday’s decision to shut all land, sea and air links between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia led efforts to isolate Qatar on Monday with the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and several other Arab states also closing diplomatic ties and suspending flights over the country’s links to terrorist groups

Read: Saudi, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt sever ties with Qatar over ‘terrorism’

Saudi publication Al-Riyadh quoted Saudi-Qatari Businesses Council member Othman Al-Qanna as saying “markets in Al-Ahsa used to be filled with Qatari shoppers all year round” due to its proximity to the Saudi border.

He said Al-Ahsa was considered the number one shopping destination for Qataris with Qaysariyah Market, Al-Hadadid Street, Al-Majid Street and Al-Aitham Mall particularly popular.

Qataris would buy food products and construction materials to transport back to Qatar without taxation, with many also having millions of riyals invested in local hotels, farms, real estate and other sectors, according to the official.

Now that is expected to change as the border closure halts access for thousands of vehicles moving between the countries on a daily basis and Qatari citizens are given two weeks to leave Saudi Arabia.

Yesterday, Saudi Arabia took the further step of revoking the licence of Qatar Airways and shutting down the airline’s offices in the kingdom as a sign of the rift between the two countries worsening.

Read: Saudi, Bahrain shut down Qatar Airways offices, revoke licence

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