Egypt terror attack: Attack on mosque in Egypt’s Sinai kills at least 235, world leaders condemn the attack
CAIRO: Attackers killed a minimum of 235 worshippers Friday in a bomb and gun assault on a packed mosque in Egypt’s restive North Sinai province, within the nation’s deadliest assault in current reminiscence.
A bomb explosion ripped by way of the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish, earlier than gunmen opened hearth on the Sufi worshippers gathered there for weekly Friday prayers, officers stated.
Witnesses stated the assailants surrounded the mosque with all-terrain autos after which planted a bomb exterior.
The gunmen then mowed down the panicked worshippers as they tried to flee and used congregants’ autos they’d set alight to dam routes to the mosque.
Egyptian air drive jets later destroyed autos used within the assault and “terrorist” places the place weapons and ammunition have been stocked, a military spokesman stated on Friday.
The planes “destroyed a number of autos used within the assault,” Tamer el-Refai stated.
The state prosecutor’s workplace stated in an announcement that 235 individuals have been killed and 109 wounded within the assault, the size of which is unprecedented in a four-year insurgency by Islamist extremist teams.
Between ten and 20 armed attackers “entered the mosque, killing extra individuals than they injured,” Magdy Rizk, who was wounded within the assault, informed AFP.
“They have been sporting masks and navy uniforms,” he stated, including that the world was predominantly Sufi and that locals have acquired threats from extremist teams.
US President Donald Trump condemned on Twitter the “horrible and cowardly terrorist assault on harmless and defenceless worshippers”.
Horrible and cowardly terrorist assault on harmless and defenseless worshipers in Egypt. The world can’t tolerate t… https://t.co/73hMjYKjMI
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
A livid Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared three days of mourning and pledged to “reply with brutal drive”.
“The military and police will avenge our martyrs and return safety and stability with drive within the coming brief interval,” he added in a televised speech.
Russian President Vladimir Putin despatched condolences to Sisi, calling the assault “placing for its cruelty and cynicism”, whereas condemnations poured in from Israel, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and different international locations.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi additionally condemned the “barbaric” terror assault.
Strongly condemn the barbaric terrorist assault on a spot of worship in Egypt. Our deep condolences on the lack of… https://t.co/dy0ZFCEv4L
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi)
UK overseas minister Boris Johnson decried the “barbaric assault”, whereas his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian labelled it “despicable”.
Deeply saddened by the abhorrent assault on a mosque in North Sinai, #Egypt. My honest condolences to all these aff… https://t.co/I9iRYAiPOg
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson)
Pope Francis and Egypt’s highest Muslim non secular authority joined within the condemnation.
“His Holiness joins all individuals of fine will in imploring that hearts hardened by hatred will study to resign the best way of violence,” the pope’s workplace stated.
The grand imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, condemned “within the strongest phrases this barbaric terrorist assault”.
There was no speedy declare of accountability for the bloodshed.
The Islamic State group’s Egypt department has killed a whole lot of policemen and troopers, and likewise civilians accused of working with the authorities, in assaults within the north of the Sinai peninsula.
They’ve additionally focused followers of the magical Sufi department of Sunni Islam in addition to Christians.
The victims of Friday’s assault included civilians and conscripts praying on the mosque.
A tribal chief and head of a Bedouin militia that fights IS informed AFP that the mosque is named a spot the place Sufis collect.
The Islamic State group shares the puritan Salafi view that Sufis are heretics for looking for the intercession of saints.
The jihadists had beforehand kidnapped and beheaded an aged Sufi chief, accusing him of practising magic which Islam forbids, and kidnapped Sufi practitioners later launched after “repenting”.
An IS propaganda outlet had printed an interview earlier with the commander of its “morality police” in Sinai who stated their “first precedence was to fight the manifestations of polytheism together with Sufism”.
The group has killed greater than 100 Christians in church bombings and shootings in Sinai and different elements of Egypt, forcing many to flee the peninsula.
The navy has struggled to quell jihadists who pledged allegiance to IS in November 2014.
IS repeatedly conducts assaults in opposition to troopers and policemen within the peninsula bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip, though the frequency and scale of such assaults has diminished over the previous yr.
The jihadists have since more and more turned to civilian targets, attacking not solely Christians and Sufis but additionally Bedouin Sinai inhabitants accused of working with the military.
The Gaza Strip’s border crossing with Egypt that had been attributable to reopen Saturday will stay closed till additional discover due to the assault, a Palestinian official stated.
Except for IS, Egypt additionally faces a risk from Al-Qaeda-aligned jihadists who function out of neighbouring Libya.
A gaggle calling itself Ansar al-Islam — Supporters of Islam in Arabic — claimed an October ambush in Egypt’s Western Desert that killed a minimum of 16 policemen.
A lot of these killed belonged to the inside ministry’s secretive Nationwide Safety Service.
The navy later carried out air strikes on the attackers, killing their chief Emad al-Din Abdel Hamid, a most needed jihadist who was a navy officer earlier than becoming a member of an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Libya’s militant stronghold of Derna.