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Published On: Fri, Nov 24th, 2017

Deadliest attack in modern Egyptian history: 235 killed in mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai

nsnbc : At least 235 people were killed and more than 109 injured after unidentified terrorists stormed Al-Rawda mosque in Egypt’s troubled North Sinai province with explosives and heavy weaponry. Initial reports indicated the attack involved at least one suicide bombing and heavy gunfire. The brutal massacre , the worst in modern Egyptian history, drew international condemnation. Egyptian President Al-Sisi vowed to vigorously respond to the act of terrorism.

Al-Rawda mosque_EgyptNorth Sinai_Nov 2017The brutal massacre at the Al-Rawda mosque set a new record of misery, tragedy and inhumanity. It is the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history since the 2005 attack on the tourist resort Sharm al-Sheikh. More were killed in the mosque, that the 224 who lost their lives in the downing of the Russian Metrojet (Kogalmaviya) Flight KGL9268 in 2015.

Other recent attacks include the targeting of Coptic Christians in a number of attacks in 2017. On Palm Sunday in April 2017, suicide bombings targeting St. George’s Church in Tanta and St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria killed at least 45 people. A month later, 28 Coptic Christians were killed when masked terrorists opened fire on a bus.

The Egyptian government and security forces have been fighting an insurgency in North Sinai province – bordering Palestine’s Gaza Strip – since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi in a people-powered military coup in 2013. The  relatively marginal Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) – previously known for small-scale bombings and shootings off military and police officers – managed to build a united front combining the ABM, the military wing of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood – Ikhwan – parts of the armed wing of Palestine’s Hamas, and insurgents from neighboring Libya – and to form a new, Islamic State affiliated Wilayat Sinai – State of Sinai.

The mosque massacre drew international condemnation. Stéphane Romatet, the Ambassador of France in Cairo,  condemned the attack through his Twitter account, calling it “barbaric and ignominious.” U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on his Twitter account “Horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshipers in Egypt. The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!”

The US Embassy in Cairo issued a statement in which it also expressed its condemnation for the attack, describing it “as unconscionable act of cowardice and hate,” while extending “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were killed and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured”. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote on his Twitter account “Deeply saddened by the abhorrent attack on a mosque in North Sinai, #Egypt. My sincere condolences to all those affected by such a barbaric act.”

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström issued a statement in which she “strongly” condemned the attack and sent her “sincere condolences to all those affected and to the people of Egypt.” The attack was also condemned by  a number of Middle Eastern countries including Iraq, Bahrain and Oman, as well as by Israel and Turkey – two countries with “difficult” relations with Egypt.

Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennet said that this is “a time for international unity in the war on terror wherever it presents itself: Russia, Europe, the US, Israel and the Arab World — we have all been hurt by terror and must unite in our battle against it.” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu wrote on Twitter, “I strongly condemn the terrorist attack in Sinai region of #Egypt that took lives of many innocent civilians. I convey my condolences to the families of those who were killed and to the brotherly people of Egypt; I also wish speedy recovery to the wounded.” The United Nations Security Council also condemned “the heinous and cowardly attack in Sinai”.

Al-Sisi offers condolences and vows to vigorously respond to the attack. Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi offered his deepest condolences to the families of the victims after at least 235 people were killed and more than 109 injured in an attack in North Sinai. Addressing -Sisi said “It is a cowardly attack that aims to destabilize the [country’s] unity, spread bitterness, and make us doubt our abilities. … however, this attack will do nothing but make us stronger and more persistent to combat terrorism. … We will respond to this terrorist attack vigorously. … What is happening in North Sinai is a real reflection of our efforts to combat terrorism, and Egypt is in this war alone on behalf of the region, and the entire world” al-Sisi went on to say.

CH/L – nsnbc 24.11.2017

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