Bahrain now requires Qatari nationals and residents to obtain a visa prior to arrival, the latest move in the ongoing diplomatic rift between Qatar and its neighbors.

Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said Tuesday the decision to introduce visa requirements for people traveling from Qatar was made in order “to preserve the security and safety of the country.”

It cited Qatar’s “decision to strengthen its ties with Iran,” and said Qatar was offering “shelter” to alleged fugitives who threaten Bahrain’s security.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in early June, accusing it of sponsoring terrorism. Qatar denies the allegations.

The quartet also stopped direct flights to Qatar and expelled Qatari residents, with exceptions for mixed-nationality families.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

Photo Credit: The Gulf states' blockade of Qatar is getting tighter. Pictured are tourists at the Al Fateh Grand Mosque in Manama, Bahrain. Luca Mauri / Flickr