Info on terrorist involved in church bombing verified and accurate, Egypt tells GCC
Ahram Online, , Friday 16 Dec 2016
Egypt's interior ministry said that the suspected mastermind behind the Sunday attack on church in Cairo had travelled to Qatar in 2015, where he met and conspired with members of the Muslim Brotherhood


Egypt’s foreign ministry called on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Friday to accurately read the Egyptian stance towards Sunday’s church bombing, which left 26 people dead and more 40 injured.

The foreign ministry’s statement came in response to a statement by the GCC Secretary-General Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani on Thursday where he expressed the GCC's displeasure at a Monday statement by the Egyptian interior ministry which inserted the name of Qatar in the details of the "heinous crime."

"We were hoping that the GCC secretary-general’s statement would reflect an accurate reading of the Egyptian stance,” the foreign ministry statement read.

“The only official statement issued by the [Egyptian] interior ministry about the attack included verified and accurate information about the terrorist involved in the attack, and his recent moves outside Egypt," the statement added.

Al Zayani warned against "haste in releasing accusatory statements, which could negatively affect the close ties between the GCC and Egypt," and urged the countries to communicate through official channels before releasing any statements.

Al Zayani also stated that GCC countries have condemned the attack and expressed solidarity with Egypt in its war against terrorism, saying that Egypt's security is important to the security of the GCC countries.

The foreign ministry statement expressed “appreciation for the support and solidarity” reflected in Al Zayani’s statements but insisted that the relations between Egypt and other Arab countries “should stay strong and immune, and not to be exposed to shocks or suspicions due to inaccurate reading of the situations.”

On Monday, Egyptian authorities accused the banned Muslim Brotherhood organisation of involvement in Sunday’s bombing of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Cairo, which left 26 dead and more than 40 injured.

Egypt's interior ministry said in a statement broadcast on state TV that the suspected mastermind behind the attack, Mohab Moustafa El-Sayed Kassem, had travelled to Qatar in 2015, where he met and conspired with members of the Muslim Brotherhood residing in the Gulf country.

Qatar’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Doha rejects having its name mentioned in connection with the bombing.

The Qatari foreign ministry confirmed that Kassem had legally visited Qatar in December last year, but denied any wrongdoing on the part of the Qatari government towards Egypt.

The Qatari statement added that Doha has strongly condemned and denounced the terrorist attack.

The Egyptian statement said that Kassem returned from Qatar to carry out terrorist attacks in Egypt with full financial and logistical assistance from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt-Qatar relations have witnessed tensions since the 2013 ousting of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who had close relations with the Qatari government.

Cairo has accused Doha of harbouring fugitive leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who have been convicted on various criminal charges in Egyptian courts.

Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group in late 2013.

The Islamic State militant group claimed on Tuesday responsibility for the bombing in a statement published on its affiliated news outlet AMAQ.

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