Update: death toll from North Sinai mosque attack rises to 305

At least 305 worshippers were killed and 128 were injured during Friday prayers at a North Sinai mosque by gunmen belonging to the terrorist group Daesh, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s recent memory.

The victims, who were praying at Al-Rawdah Mosque in Bir Al-Abd city, include 27 children killed in the attack, Egypt’s prosecutor-general announced on Saturday.

The prosecutor-general said that according to eyewitnesses, 25 to 30 gunmen in camouflage trousers and bearing the Daesh black flag rode up to the mosque in five SUVs and started shooting at worshippers.

The gunmen, some of whom wore masks, attacked the mosque as the imam was starting the Friday sermon.

No group has claimed the responsibility of the attack so far.

Most of the terrorist attacks to take place in North Sinai in recent years, which have mainly targeted security forces, have been claimed by the Daesh-affiliated North Sinai-based group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis.

In January 2017, the Daesh-affiliated online publication Rumiyah released an interview with an alleged leading figure in Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, who described Al-Rawdah village as a Sufi centre, adding that the group is fighting Sufism in North Sinai.

In late 2016, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for killing Sinai’s oldest Sufi Sheikh Soliman El-Harez as well as the destruction of two Sufi shrines.

Sufism, often described as “Islamic mysticism,” involves a spiritual form of worship where adherents attempt to become close with God through meditation and asceticism.

Daesh considers Sufi Islam to be blasphemous.

Al-Rawdah Mosque was built by El-Jaririyah, one of Sinai’s largest Sufi orders.

Earlier today, Egypt’s army said that its air forces launched strikes in North Sinai, killing a number of terrorists involved in the Friday attack.

Source: Ahram online

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