RIYADH, Dec 16, (AFP): Gulf states have condemned Egypt’s accusation of Qatari involvement in a Cairo church bombing last week that killed 25 people, a statement from the Gulf Cooperation Council said.
“GCC states are upset over dragging the name of memberstate Qatar into this heinous crime,” the group’s secretary general Abdullatif al-Zayani said. “This is inacceptable,” he said, warning that “unverified statements could harm the strong relations between the GCC and Egypt.”
In addition to Qatar, the GCC groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Its statement late Thursday came after Qatar denied involvement in Sunday’s deadly bomb attack on the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church in Cairo, which was claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.
On Monday, Egypt accused fugitive Muslim Brotherhood leaders who fled to Qatar of training and financing those responsible for the attack. Cairo’s interior ministry pointed the finger at suspect Mohab Mostafa el-Sayed Qassem, also known as “The Doctor”, who travelled to Qatar in 2015. It said Qassem was offered financial and logistical support to carry out attacks in Egypt. Qatar dismissed the claims as baseless, insisting that Qassem visited the Gulf state just “like hundreds of thousands of others.” Sunday’s incident was the deadliest attack in recent memory on Egypt’s Christian minority, who make up about 10 percent of the population. The Brotherhood has denied any involvement.