Friday’s attack on a Sufi mosque, near Egypt’s Sinai coast has been brandished one of the worst terror attacks in modern history.
Militants are believed to have detonated a bomb inside the crowded mosque on Friday, before spraying gunfire on panicked worshipers as they fled.
At least 305 people have been killed in the attack, while another 128 are said to be wounded, in what officials are calling the deadliest attack in Egypt’s modern history.
The area has been racked by an Islamist insurgency and the latest incident has sent shock waves across the nation.
Not only for the sheer number of deaths, but more so for the choice of target.
In Egypt, attacks on mosques are rare – the so-called Islamic State have previously targeted Coptic Christian churches and pilgrim, but avoided Muslim places of worship.
Most of the victims were Sufi Muslims – according to The New York Times, they practice a mystical form of Islam the Islamic State and other Sunni extremist groups deem heretical – this is said to have injected a new element into Egypt’s struggle with militants.
It underscored the failure of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who’s justified his harsh crackdown on political freedom in the name of crushing Islamic militancy, to deliver on his promises of security.
Ibrahim Sheteewi, a resident in Bir al-Abed – a small town near to where the attack took place said:
The scene was horrific. The bodies were scattered on the ground outside the mosque. I hope God punishes them for this.
Egypt’s top prosecutor, Nabil Sadek, said in a statement the death toll included at least 27 children.
25 to 30 militants are believed to have carried out the attacks, the statement revealed, barging in carrying automatic weapons and the Islamic State flag.
The statement continued:
The perpetrators of the terrorist attack posted themselves in front of the door of the mosque and its 12 windows.
President Donald Trump was one of a number of world leaders who condemned the mosque attack.
The POTUS labelled it ‘horrible and cowardly’ before going on to explain why the US needs a border wall with Mexico and restrictions on immigration – something he refered to as ‘the ban’.
Egypt’s air force has conducted air strikes against suspected terrorists after the country’s president vowed to respond with the ‘utmost force’ against the militants.
Will be calling the President of Egypt in a short while to discuss the tragic terrorist attack, with so much loss of life. We have to get TOUGHER AND SMARTER than ever before, and we will. Need the WALL, need the BAN! God bless the people of Egypt.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2017
According to The Independent, a military source said the air strikes had destroyed vehicles linked to the attackers who used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades to mow down worshippers in the packed mosque during Friday noon prayers.
The source continued:
Egypt’s air force is following the trail of the terrorists and has destroyed two or three of their vehicles.
Other Egyptian military sources have reported the air strikes had killed everyone inside the vehicles, however this has not yet been possible to independently verify.
My thoughts are with the victims and all those affected by the horrific terrorist attack on worshippers at Friday prayers in Egypt. Solidarity with the people of Egypt.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 25, 2017
It’s understood the air strikes took place in mountainous areas around Bir al-Abed, hours after the attack.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appeared on televised to address the nation in which he vowed:
The armed forces and the police will avenge our martyrs and restore security and stability with the utmost force.
Our thoughts are with all those affected.