© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: People walk past the Qatar Airways office in Manama
DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar has released a bodybuilding champion and two other Bahrainis who had been detained during fishing trips, Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said on Thursday. Manama on Sunday demanded that Qatari authorities release the bodybuilder Sami Al Haddad, who was arrested along with a compatriot on Friday in the third such incident in recent months, which occurred after Bahrain and its Arab allies agreed to put end to a political dispute with Doha. The Interior Ministry said in a statement that Qatari authorities had also released a Bahraini sailor arrested in December. He said their ships were still being held. “The Bahraini embassy in Oman confirmed that the citizens of Bahrain arrived there,” he said. There was no immediate comment from the Qatari authorities. Manama said on Sunday it will reopen its airspace to Qatar starting January 11 under a US-backed deal earlier this month to end the dispute in which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar in mid-2017. All four nations have resumed air links with Qatar. A senior Emirati official has said that reestablishing diplomatic ties would take longer as the parties rebuild trust. The states imposed the boycott on charges that Qatar supports terrorism. Doha denies this and says the embargo aims to restrict its sovereignty.