At least 235 people killed and another 109 injured in the attack on a mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai region
Gunmen attacked a crowded mosque in Egypt’s restive North Sinai province on Friday, killing at least 235 people in one of the country’s deadliest attacks in recent memory, state media reported.
Another 109 people were injured, the official MENA news agency said.
A bomb explosion ripped through the Rawda mosque roughly 40 kilometers west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish before gunmen opened fire on the worshippers gathered for weekly Friday prayers, officials said.
It was the largest single attack targeting Egyptian civilians and the first on a large mosque since the militants began their campaign of terror in 2013.
State media showed images of bloodied victims and bodies covered in blankets inside the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of El Arish, the main city in North Sinai.
Worshippers were finishing Friday prayers at the mosque when a bomb exploded, witnesses said. Around 40 gunmen set up positions outside the mosque with jeeps and opened fire from different directions as people tried to escape, witnesses said.
Eyewitnesses told Ahram Online that improved explosive devices were detonated at the mosque initially, then gunmen fired at worshippers, including targeting ambulances transferring the injured to hospital.
“They were shooting at people as they left the mosque,” said a local resident whose relatives were at the scene. “They were shooting at the ambulances too.”
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi declared three days of mourning and called a meeting of security officials after the attack.