Mosque Bombing in Sinai Leaves 200+ Dead
Egypt's President Sisi declared three days of national mourning and has convened his security council after the bombing of a mosque in Sinai during Friday prayers left more than 200 dead and scores more injured.
The city is located approximately halfway between Port Said and Rafah on the border with Gaza.
Hundreds of police and soldiers have been killed in Sinai since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Agence France Presse reports:
Gunmen attacked a packed mosque in Egypt's restive North Sinai province on Friday and set off a bomb, killing at least 115 people in one of the country's deadliest attacks in recent memory, state media reported.
A bomb explosion ripped through the Rawda mosque roughly 40 kilometres west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish before gunmen opened fire on the worshippers gathered for weekly Friday prayers, officials said.
The official Al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website that at least 115 people were killed and 80 wounded in the attack, which is unprecedented in a four-year insurgency by Islamist extremist groups [...]
A tribal leader and head of a Bedouin militia that fights IS told AFP that the mosque is known as a place of gathering for Sufis.
The Islamic State group shares the puritan Salafi view of Sufis as heretics for seeking the intercession of saints.
The jihadists had previously kidnapped and beheaded an elderly Sufi leader, accusing him of practising magic which Islam forbids, and abducted Sufi practitioners later released after "repenting."
As I reported here at PJ Media earlier this year, most of the Christians still living in Sinai have abandoned their homes and taken refuge on the other side of the Suez Canal after a series of murders targeting the Coptic Christian community by the area's ISIS affiliate.
Terrorists also launched an attack near the ancient St. Catherine's monastery.
Early reports from today's bombing indicate that both military conscripts and civilians were targeted in the attack.
The area is outside the Sinai security zone and hasn't seen any previous attack.
First responders on the scene were also targeted by gunfire.
As the casualty numbers are likely to climb, this attack may end up being the most deadly in the Sinai since 2013.
And condemnations of the attack and condolences are now coming in from all parts of the region and the world.