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Qatar, US stage joint military exercise in crisis-hit Doha

The American military and Qatari armed forces have staged a joint training exercise in Doha amid strong tensions between the Persian Gulf Arab state and a Saudi-led alliance.

According to Press TV, Qatari and US paratroopers held the “Friendship Jump” drill on Tuesday more than 70 days after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cuts their relations with Qatar.

According to a statement from the US Special Operations Command Control, the parachute exercise was conducted by more than 40 paratroopers who jumped from a C-130 transport aircraft.

The drill “is indicative of the strong relationship between our two countries,” said Colonel David Keesy, senior defense official for the US Embassy in Qatar.

“This is part of a multi-spectrum, training evolution that is indicative of the mil-to-mil relationships and partnership and cooperation between the US and Qatari militaries,” he added.

It was the second military exercise between Washington and Doha since the onset of the Persian Gulf crisis. The two sides held naval exercises in June.

Saudi Arabia and three of its allies cut off their diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the region. The Saudi-led bloc has also imposed sanctions against the country, including restrictions on Qatari aircraft using their airspace. The severance of ties came shortly after a visit by US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia.

Doha, however, slams the measures as unjustified, saying they are based on false claims and assumptions. It said the boycotters are attacking its sovereignty.

The United States, which has a huge military base in Doha and a naval base in Manama, reached an agreement in July to fight the financing of terrorism during a round of shuttle diplomacy aimed at ending the Persian Gulf crisis.

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