CAIRO – A terrorist attack killed 230 people at a mosque in Egypt’s north Sinai region on Friday, detonating a bomb and shooting at fleeing worshippers and ambulances, state media and witnesses said.
It was one of the deadliest attacks in the region. No group claimed immediate responsibility, but since 2014 Egyptian security forces have battled a stubborn “Islamic State” affiliate in the north of the mainly desert Sinai, where militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.
State media showed images of bloodied victims and bodies covered in blankets inside the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of the city of El Arish.
State television and the official news agency MENA reported that 230 people had been killed. Another 125 were wounded, according to state media.
“They were shooting at people as they left the mosque,” a local resident whose relatives were at the scene told Reuters. “They were shooting at the ambulances too.”
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former armed forces commander who presents himself as a bulwark against extremists, convened an emergency meeting with his defense and interior ministers and intelligence chief soon after the attack, the presidency’s Facebook page and state television said.
The government also declared three days of mourning.