Death toll rises to 235 in Egypt mosque attack

By Ahram Online

At least 235 worshippers have been killed by gunmen who attacked a Sufi mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai during Friday prayer, the general prosecutor's office announced in an official statement, making the attack one of the deadliest targeting civilians in the country in recent years.

The statement said at least 109 people were injured in the attack that targeted Al Rawdah mosque in Bir Al-Abed, 80 km west of Arish city.

The president’s office has announced a nationwide three-day mourning following the terrorist attack, state TV has reported.

According to eyewitnesses who spoke to Al-Ahram’s Arabic website, the gunmen fired heavily on worshippers after improvised explosive devices were detonated at the mosque.

Health ministry sources in the governorate said 30 ambulances were deployed to the scene to transport the injured to Arish Bir Al-Abed and Arish General hospitals.

In an official statement, Egyptian general prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered that Ismailia and high state security prosecutors be deployed to the scene to carry out needed investigations. 

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is set to hold a meeting with a security committee to discuss the repercussions of the terrorist attack. 

Egypt's security forces have been fighting an Islamist insurgency based in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula which has gained pace since the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The insurgency has mostly targeted security forces, with attacks on military and police checkpoints commonplace.