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Report: Qatar emir to transfer power to son

By CNN Staff
updated 4:01 PM EDT, Mon June 24, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The emir will address the nation early Tuesday
  • Qatar's clout has jumped in recent years
  • The news was all over social media

(CNN) -- Qatar, a tiny but influential Persian Gulf nation, will have a new leader, according to a news outlet there.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, will hand over power to his son, Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Al Jazeera reported.

Al Thani, who gave the news to ruling family members and prominent elements of society, will address the nation at 8 a.m. (1 a.m. ET) Tuesday. He has declared the day a national holiday.

The energy-rich emirate has backed Syrian rebels in their fight against the Bashar al-Assad regime, and Taliban militants have set up an office there amid diplomacy to end the Afghan war.

The prestigious soccer World Cup will be held there in 2022.

Social media was abuzz over the news, with people thanking Al Thani for his efforts. One tweeter said, "U changed a tiny desert hamlet to a powerful economic empire. Deeply indebted." Another said, "I have watched Qatar become an economic, sports, education and political leader. #ThankyouHamad for everything. You will always be in our hearts."

CNN's Schams Elazar contributed to this report

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