Attack on mosque in Egypt's Sinai kills at least 200

2017-11-24 16:11
Egyptians walk past bodies following a gun and bombing attack at the Rawda mosque. (AFP)

Egyptians walk past bodies following a gun and bombing attack at the Rawda mosque. (AFP)

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Cairo - Gunmen attacked a packed mosque in Egypt's restive North Sinai province on Friday and set off a bomb, killing at least 200 people in one of the country's deadliest attacks in recent memory, state media reported.

A bomb explosion ripped through the Rawda mosque roughly 40km west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish before gunmen opened fire on the worshippers gathered for weekly Friday prayers, officials said.

Praying at mosque

The official Al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website that at least 115 people were killed and 80 injured in the attack, which is unprecedented in a four-year insurgency by Islamist extremist groups.

The Islamic State group's Egypt branch has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers and also civilians accused of working with the authorities, in attacks in the north of the Sinai peninsula.

They have also targeted followers of the mystical Sufi branch of Sunni Islam as well as Christians.

The victims included civilians and conscripts praying at the mosque.

A tribal leader and head of a Bedouin militia that fights ISIS said that the mosque was known as a place of gathering for Sufis.

Practising magic

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".

The group has killed more than 100 Christians in church bombings and shootings in Sinai and other parts of Egypt, forcing many to flee the peninsula.

Read more on:    egypt

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