Qatar says it has filed a defamation suit against a senior official in France's far-right National Front party over comments linking the Gulf nation to terrorism.

Qatar said Monday it brought the case against Florian Philippot in France after he "repeatedly and publicly implied a link" between the country and the January terrorist attacks in France.

Qatar has denounced the violence. It says it "has no choice but to defend its name in the French courts" against such allegations.

Energy-rich Qatar has strengthened ties with France in recent years. French President Francois Hollande visited Qatar last month.

Philippot is seen as party president Marine Le Pen's top lieutenant. Party spokesman Alain Vizier declined to comment on the suit, but Philippot tweeted that "Qatar will not silence me."