Trump accuses Qatar of funding terror 'at a very high level'

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Qatar must do more, "more quickly" to combat extremism.

That was news to the Pentagon, which just minutes before said that the days-long blockade of Qatar had yet to interfere with USA operations at al-Udeid, from which are launched many sorties of the U.S-led coalition against the Islamic State.

Earlier this week, Trump appeared to tie the blockade to the success of his trip in May to Saudi Arabia and welcomed it as positive news in a series of tweets.

Germany has called for diplomatic efforts to resolve a growing crisis over Qatar, which is accused by four Arab neighbours of funding terrorism.

On Thursday, Qatar's Sheikh Mohammed said his country had been isolated "because we are successful and progressive" and called his country "a platform for peace not terrorism".

Tillerson said the blockade had led to food shortages in tiny Qatar and forced families to uproot themselves and pull their children from school.

"The blockade is hindering U.S. military actions in the region and the campaign against ISIS", Tillerson warned.

He also rejected "a military solution as an option" to resolving the crisis, and said Qatar could survive "forever" despite the measures taken against it.

"We call on Qatar to be responsive to the concerns of its neighbors", he said.

"This list is connected to Qatar and serves suspicious agendas in an indication of the duality of Qatar policies", said the statement from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.

The Arab countries closed air, sea and land links with Qatar, barred the emirate's planes from their airspace and ordered Qatari citizens out within 14 days.

The United States' biggest air base in the Middle East is at Udeid air base in Qatar, which also hosts the Qatari air force and other coalition troops.

And he was even tougher on media reports suggesting Qatar supports the Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels fighting the internationally recognised government in Yemen.

Nonetheless, Trump has been unafraid to deliver unusually sharp rebukes of Qatar.

It warned it could further lower Qatar's rating "if additional or more severe restrictions from either Saudi Arabia and the group of states, or from additional trade partners, are announced".

In an interview with AFP, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani described as an attempt at "collective punishment" a decision by Saudi Arabia and its allies to cut ties with Qatar over alleged financing of extremist groups.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani meets with U.S. President Donald Trump in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2017.

Qatar, which has developed an assertive foreign policy over the past decade, denies that it supports militants and says it is helping to reduce the threat of terrorism by backing groups that fight poverty and seek political reform.

US and European officials said that while United States government agencies and experts were convinced that the news agency and the Qatari government's Twitter feed were hacked, they have not yet determined who did the hacking.

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