Cairo: Qatar’s expulsion of senior leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood, whom the Gulf monarchy has sheltered for more than a year, is an attempt from Doha to win over estranged Gulf countries, Egyptian experts have said.

“Qatar is fulfilling the minimum limit set by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to clear the way for the return of normal ties with it,” Waheed Abdul Majeed, an analyst at the state-run Al Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies, said.

The three countries, which together with Qatar are members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), recalled in March their ambassadors from Doha, accusing it of meddling in their own affairs. Oman and Kuwait are also GCC members.

Like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood of which Qatar is a staunch backer.

Doha had previously spurned requests from Egypt to extradite several of the Brotherhood members, who have taken refuge in Qatar since the army ousted Islamist president Mohammad Mursi in summer 2013.

Cairo accuses the fugitives of involvement in deadly unrest that followed Mursi’s overthrow.

“Qatar is not interested in restoring ties with Egypt, but is striving to circumvent demands of other Gulf countries,” Abdul Majeed said.

He claimed that Qatar has arranged with Mursi’s Brotherhood to expel some of the many Islamists it is sheltering so as to deflect foreign pressure.

“This is a change in form, but not in content.”

Some fugitive leaders in the Brotherhood said that Qatari authorities have requested them to leave.

“I have decided to move my Da’wah (call) to outside Qatar lest I should cause discomfort or embarrassment to the dear brethren in Qatar,” Wajdi Ghoneim, a controversial cleric and a Brotherhood member, said in an online video. He did not say where he will go. “God’s land is vast,” he added tersely.

At least seven Egyptian Islamists are expected to leave Qatar likely to Turkey, another key backer of the Brotherhood. They include Mahmoud Hussain, the Islamist group’s secretary-general; and Amr Daraj, a senior official in the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, which an Egyptian court dissolved last month.

Relations between Egypt and Qatar have deteriorated since Mursi’s removal.

The Egyptian government and media have repeatedly accused Qatar and its TV network Al Jazeera of being biased to the Brotherhood.

“Evicting a number of Brotherhood [officials) from Qatar is not a solution,” said Mustafa Bakri, a prominent pro-military journalist. “So long as Al Jazeera continues to be a mouthpiece of poison and incite against the Egyptian state and Arab region, there will be no change in the Qatari policy,” he added.

Egypt has not been officially notified of Islamists’ eviction from Qatar, according to a source at the Foreign Ministry. “We are checking these reports,” added the source on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

However, Egypt’s chief prosecutor Hesham Barakat has asked the Interpol to track down the expelled Islamists and hand them over to Egypt to face trial.

The expulsions come amid frantic efforts by the US to build a broad coalition, including Arab allies, against the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) that has grabbed vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. Several Arab countries, including Egypt and Qatar, have pledged backing for the alliance.