According to latest reports, at least 235 people were killed and 130 more injured in a deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history.
The attack had occurred at a mosque during Friday prayers in northern Sinai, according to Egypt’s MENA news agency.
Eyewitness reported that the attackers had stationed themselves at the mosque’s three exits and deliberately attacked people who tried to escape the building as well as nearby vehicles.
The attack is one of the deadliest in Egypt’s history. So far, no group has claimed responsibility, but the attackers are likely affiliated with Islamic State (IS) which operates in the Sinai peninsula.
An Islamist insurgency in the peninsula was put down in 2013, but the region was the target of frequent terrorists attacks for years.
Similar attacks had been carried out against Egypt’s Coptic Christian Churches, but the Friday attack in Sinai targeted a large number of Muslim Sufi worshipers. Many Islamic militant groups consider Sufi’s to be heretics.
In response to the attack, Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi declared three days of morning, and vowed to use ‘brute force’ against the perpetrators.
“What is happening is an attempt to stop us from our efforts in the fight against terrorism, to destroy our efforts to stop the terrible criminal plan that aims to destroy what is left of our region,” Sisi said in a televised address.
Sisi received condolences from many world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, who called it a ‘despicable attack’ in a Twitter post.
Egypt had faced a period of political turmoil following the overthrow of country’s former leader, Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Following the deposition of Mubarak, Egypt elected Islamist Mohammad Morsi, but he was overthrown after mass anti-government protests in 2013.
Al-Sisi, a prominent ally close to Mubarak regime was elected President in 2014, and managed to stabilize the country.
Image: European Pressphoto Agency