Egypt Mosque Attack Death Toll Hits 235

24 November, 2017

Early today, heavily armed Islamic militants stormed a mosque in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula on Friday, killing at least 235 people and wounding at least 120 others, according to Bloomberg.  In what appears to be the deadliest mass killing in Egypt since the 2013 attack in Rabaa al-Adawiya, where paramilitary militia men who support President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi murdered as many as 900 Islamists who had gathered in the square for a nonviolent sit-in.

The latest assault, west of the town of El-Arish in Sinai, targeted people gathered for Friday prayers, when mosques in Egypt often overflow with worshipers. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Yet Sinai province, which lies to the east of the Nile delta and borders southern Israel and the Gaza Strip, has been a key battleground in the government’s struggle against a local branch of Islamic State.

As the BBC   has reported, Northern Sinai has been living under a media blackout for several years. No media organisations, including state-sponsored media, have been allowed to report from there.

While the majority of Islamist activity has been confined to the northern part of the Sinai, the violence has occasionally spilled over to Cairo and other main cities. Meanwhile, attacks against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority have killed dozens.

Al-Arabiya and other local sources said some of the worshippers were Sufis. Islamic State regards them as apostates because they revere saints and shrines, which hardliners believe is tantamount to heresy.

While the bombings aren’t seen as threatening the stability of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s government, they’ve devastated the tourist industry, a vital pillar of the economy, according to Bloomberg. El-Sisi called a meeting with the security committee following the mass killing, according to the state-run television said.

El-Sisi has declared three days of mourning, according to Shorouk News. State TV reports five militants were involved in the attack.

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