The Egyptian Ministry of Interior accused leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood who fled to Qatar of supporting terrorists who committed a bomb attack on the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church in Cairo. In this incident 25 people were killed.
The ministry claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood trained and financed the perpetrators. According to investigations the group was led by a person who received support as well as instructions by Brotherhood members in Qatar. The suspected suicide bomber had been arrested in 2014 while securing Muslim Brotherhood convoys but was released soon afterwards. According to his lawyer, the suspect was tortured in prison when he was a teenager until he confessed that he had owned explosives. This might have contributed to his radicalization. However, the Muslim Brotherhood denies any involvement in the recent terrorist attack.
According to the Ministry of Interior, the Muslim Brotherhood instructed the Egyptian terrorist cell to carry out attacks in order to bring about sectarian Muslim-Christian strife. Until today no group has claimed responsibility for the church bombing but two militant groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Liwa El-Thawra and Hasm, distanced themselves from the terrorist attack.
Saudi Arabia is about to remove the Muslim Brotherhood from its terrorist list although the group has been banned in the country since 2014. Recently, several meetings between representatives of the Saudi government and the Brotherhood have taken place in London, Istanbul and Riyad aiming at the normalization of the mutual relations. As a result, the kingdom will possibly redefine the status of the group in exchange for understandings between Saudi Arabia and the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. Consequently, sanctions imposed on individual members of the Brotherhood could be lifted including the unfreezing of millions of dollars in Saudi banks and the removal of travel restrictions.
The relations between Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been tense since Egypt’s vote in favor of Russia’s intervention in Syria in the UN Security Council. Saudi Arabia stopped oil shipments to Egypt in return. This situation assumedly paved the way for the facilitation of the Brotherhood’s efforts to normalize its relationship with the Saudi government.
In addition to the removal of the Brotherhood from the terrorist list, there could be more political support for the Muslim Brotherhood also within Egypt. This would put pressure on the Egyptian government to reconcile with the group. Hence there is a danger that a reintegration of the Muslim Brotherhood into the political scene in Egypt could take place that would provide Saudi Arabia the opportunity to directly exercise influence on Egyptian politics.