More than 230 people were killed on Friday and hundreds injured after militants used guns and explosives to target worshippers in a mosque during Friday prayers in Egypt’s restive North Sinai region.
Friday’s attack was the deadliest in Egypt’s history.
Quoting local population, BBC reported that that followers of Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, regularly gathered at the mosque. The victims included military conscripts too.
The state-run MENA news agency reported that the terrorists launched a targeted bomb and gun attack on the al-Rowda mosque in Al-Arish city during the Friday prayers. After the bomb ripped through the mosque, the gunmen on four off-road vehicles opened fire on the worshippers who tried to escape from the site after the explosion, it said.
About 50 ambulances were rushed to the attack site to shift the injured to hospitals. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, reported AFP.
The Egypt government has announced three days of mourning, even as President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi chaired an emergency meeting with officials to review security situation after the deadly attack.
Egypt’s North Sinai region has witnessed many violent attacks by militants since the January 2011 revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.
The attacks targeting police and military increased after the ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 by military coup.
Over 700 security personnel have been reported killed since then in the region. The military has launched security campaigns in the area, arrested suspects and demolished houses that belonged to terrorists, including those facilitating tunnels leading to the Gaza Strip.
Egypt has witnessed a series of terror attacks this year claiming scores of lives.
On 26 May, gunmen attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians in central Egypt, killing at least 28 people and wounding 25 others.
On April 9, two suicide bombings at Palm Sunday services at churches in the northern cities of Alexandria and Tanta left 46 people dead.