The Foreign Ministry denounced the Gulf Cooperation Council’s position on Egypt’s statements following the bombing of St. Peter and St. Paul Church in a statement on Friday.
Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, said on Thursday that the council was concerned that Egypt was seeking to implicate Doha in Sunday’s deadly bombing.
Rushing into making unconfirmed public statements may threaten the relationship between the GCC and Egypt, Zayani said. “It is necessary to follow formal procedures for communication over security issues to assure meticulous investigations ahead of publishing any statements, in order to maintain Arab relations,” the statement read.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry emphasized its only formal statement about the church bombing includes proven and meticulous facts about the terrorist involved in the attack and his recent activity outside the country.
“Egyptian authorities continue to piece together all threads in this crime and the thorough and documented pieces of information regarding the identity of those who financed, planned and contributed to its execution,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry issued an official statement in which it tracked the movements of one of the defendants charged with bombing the church, Mohab Mostafa, who allegedly traveled to Qatar to meet Muslim Brotherhood leaders. “The Brotherhood leaders managed to convince the accused of executing their plan and sent him back to the country with the required funding and logistical support, ultimately aiming to disturb the nation’s security,” the Interior Ministry asserted.
In response, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday night that it condemned the implication of the Gulf country in such a horrendous and widely denounced terrorist attack on the pretext of the defendant’s visit in 2015.
“Such declarations implicating Qatar with the aim to cover up the inefficiency of Egyptian authorities and fuel emotions among neighboring nations does not help solidify bonds,” said Ahmed al-Rumaihi, director of the Foreign Ministry’s information office.
Although Rumaihi confirmed the suspect had visited Qatar, he emphasized that Mohab Mostafa left the country and flew back to Cairo at the end of his visit on the first of February 2016. “The Qatari authorities did not receive any requests from the Egyptian security authorities or from the Arab Criminal Police to prohibit Mostafa’s access to Qatar or demand his arrest,” he added.
Twenty-five people died and dozens of others were injured in an explosion on Sunday morning at St. Peter and St. Paul Church next to Cairo’s main Coptic Cathedral in Abbasseya.
During the funeral, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the attack was executed by Mahmoud Shafiq Mohamed Mostafa, and others. A few days later, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing.