At least 235 people have been killed in a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai, state-run media reports, making it the country’s deadliest terror attack in modern history. More than 100 others have been injured.
The incident happened during Friday prayers when a bomb was detonated at the Al-Rawdah mosque in Bir Al-Abed, a village about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Arish, the capital of North Sinai. Gunmen then opened fire as worshippers tried to flee the scene.
The official news agency MENA reported that at least 235 people had been killed and 109 others have been injured, many of whom were reported to be in a critical condition. It is feared that the death toll will rise as many hundreds of people were attending Friday prayers.
Member of Parliament Mostafa Bakry said the mosque was surrounded by militants who opened fire from vehicles after the bomb went off, trapping many people as they tried to flee the area. The attackers also opened fire on emergency services as they arrived at the scene.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Friday’s attack is the deadliest in Egypt’s modern history. At least 224 people were killed in October 2015 when a suspected bomb caused the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 in North Sinai. That attack was claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS).
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has declared three days of national mourning. Foreign countries such as the U.S. and Canada condemned the attack, with the U.S. Embassy in Cairo calling it an “unconscionable act of cowardice and hate.”
“I am disgusted by the evil attack that killed and injured so many Egyptians in Sinai today. On behalf of the UK my deep condolences to all involved,” British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson said. “These attacks on people praying in mosques and churches only strengthen our determination to stand together, and defeat terrorism and hate.”
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