Egypt defends statement on church bombing against GCC criticism

Friday 16-12-2016 07:11 PM

Hundreds gather outside Coptic Orthodox cathedral after explosion (Aswat Masriya/ Mohamed El-Raei)

CAIRO, Dec 16 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt’s foreign ministry defended a statement on the recent church bombing that was criticised by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for implicating Qatar in the case .

The bombing of St. Peter and St. Paul church on Sunday killed 26 and injured dozens of worshippers at the church attached to one of Egypt’s most symbolic sites for Copts, St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral.

The interior ministry released a statement after the bombing saying that people in connection with the Muslim Brotherhood in Qatar assisted a 22-year old suicide bomber to carry out the attack. 

Secretary General of the GCC Abdullatif al-Zayani said in a statement on Thursday that it is “unacceptable” to implicate Qatar in the case.

He added that “hastiness in issuing statements without checking them might affect” ties between the GCC and Egypt. He also stressed the importance of reaching out through official channels on security issues before releasing statements related to “terrorism crimes”. 

But Egypt’s foreign ministry described the interior ministry’s statement as “accurate” and expressed hope that the GCC’s Secretary General’s stance would reflect “accurate reading” of the situation in Egypt.

The foreign ministry also said that Egyptian authorities are in the process of gathering all the information related to the crime and will announce it once the investigation is complete. The ministry also stressed strong relations with Arab countries.

The GCC is made up of six gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Egyptian- Qatari relations have deteriorated following the army's ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, which was prompted by mass protests against his rule. Qatar was a strong supporter of Mursi's regime.

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