Hundreds Killed in Attack on Egyptian Mosque

At least 235 people were killed and another 109 injured in an attack on a mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai region on Friday, Egyptian state-run Nile TV reported, making it one of the deadliest attacks ever carried out against civilians in the province.

After at least two explosions, gunmen who were waiting outside the mosque opened fire at worshipers as they fled Friday prayers, state-owned Ahram Online said.

The attack targeted Al Rawdah mosque, situated in the village of Al Rawdah between Bir Al-Abed and the city of Al-Arish.

The gunmen had set up “ambush” locations and opened fire on ambulances as they were transporting wounded worshipers from al-Rawdah toward al-Arish before the arrival of security services, eyewitnesses reported.

The mosque that was attacked is known for being the birthplace of Sheikh Eid al-Jariri, a Sufi cleric considered the founder of Sufism in the Sinai peninsula. Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam that some ultra-orthodox Muslims consider heretical.

The blasts from improvised explosive devices caused considerable damage to the mosque, Ahram Online said.

Speaking to state-run Masriya TV station, Egyptian health ministry spokesman Khalid Mujahid described the incident as a “terrorist attack.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is meeting with a security committee to discuss repercussions of the attack, Masriya TV reported. The presidency has declared three days of national mourning.

No claim of responsibility

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack and there is no word yet on what happened to the militants involved. However, it bears the hallmarks of an attack by ISIS.

Egyptian security forces face almost daily attacks from ISIS-aligned militants, whom they have been battling in northern Sinai for several years. However, Mosque attacks are relatively rare in Egypt.

The dusty town of Bir Al-Abed lies on the main highway running east across northern Sinai to the city of Al-Arish and on to Rafah and Gaza.

International condemnation

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was deeply saddened by what he described as an “abhorrent attack” on a mosque. “My sincere condolences to all those affected by such a barbaric act,” he tweeted.

The UK Ambassador to Egypt, John Casson, tweeted that he was “disgusted” by the “evil attack that killed and injured so many Egyptians in Sinai today.”

He added: “These attacks on people praying in mosques & churches only strengthen our determination to stand together, & defeat terrorism & hate.”

Jordanian King Abdullah condemned what he called a “heinous terrorist attack” in a tweet on the Jordanian Royal Family’s official account.

“We stand with Egyptians in their war against terrorism and against anyone who tries to harm the Egyptian national security,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement.

This is a developing story.

9 comments

  • One way out

    This is actually a very complex situation if you look into it and really just boils down to the quickest way to spread Sharia Law to the “infidels” in the opinion of the attackers. Pretty wild stuff that they are wiping out their own over slightly different opinions on how to worship or practice mostly shared beliefs to essentially revert society back to the stone age. Radicals hate the modern societies where women have rights and lesser tribe’s children can’t be slaves in some measure. They do bogus things if they feel inferior in any way while insisting that they are right. It is a sad truth that needs to be more understood with intelligence rather than expressing the stupidity of emotion. Peace be with you

    • warningfakenews

      I think it would be safe to say that it’s better for us that they stay over there while they sort this out.

    • Warren Searfoss

      why is it a surprise that the different sects are fighting over different meanings of their religion… the Catholics hate all the different sects of Christianity just like all the other different sects of Christianity hate each other.. not a surprise and one factor in it all boils down to the one thing,,, religions and the following of it is the cause.

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