Code: 653721 A

Saudi Arabia's state airline has said it is suspending flights to and from Toronto, the latest in a series of measures announced by the kingdom in its diplomatic dispute with Canada.

The move on Monday came hours after Riyadh expelled Canada's ambassador over alleged interference in Saudi domestic affairs after Ottawa's foreign ministry rebuked Riyadh for jailing human rights activists.

Canadian Ambassador Dennis Horak was given 24 hours to leave the country, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The kingdom also froze new trade and investment with Canada worth billions of dollars and recalled its envoy to the country.

Saudi state television later reported that the Education Ministry was coming up with an "urgent plan" to move thousands of Saudi scholarship students out of Canadian schools to take classes in other countries.

The Saudi state airline, Saudia, meanwhile said in a statement on its official Twitter account that it would suspend all flights to Toronto starting next Monday, August 13.

The announcements came days after Canada called for the immediate release of rights campaigners detained during a recent wave of arrests in Saudi Arabia, including relatives of naturalised Canadian citizens.

The ministry of foreign affairs said Canada's actions were an "affront" that required a "sharp response".

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never accepted any interference in its domestic affairs by - or orders from - any country," SPA quoted the ministry as saying.

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saudi arabia Canada
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