305 people lost their lives in the Egyptian mosque attack that took place last Friday. This has become the deadliest act of hate in Egypt’s recent history. ISIS is responsible for the tragic event.
The attack was carried out during Friday prayers at a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. There were about 25 to 30 extremist militants who had an ISIS flag with them, according to Egypt’s chief prosecutor, Nabil Sadeq. He also clarified that the death toll has increased from 235 to 305 deaths, including 27 kids. About 128 people are injured. The ISIS militants set 7 cars on fire. These vehicles were parked outside of the mosque, and they belonged to the worshipers.
“The sight was horrific,” said Ibrahim Shetewy, a witness to the attack. “We carried whomever we found alive and took them in pickups and private cars until more ambulances could come and help.”
The deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt
On Saturday, the Egyptian government blamed ISIS on the events, since the militants who attacked the mosque had ISIS flags. Because of that, the Egyptian army has deployed multiple airstrikes on bases they claim are used by ISIS militants in the North Sinai region.
“The law enforcement forces continued to pursue the elements responsible for the brutal terrorist incident targeting the worshipers in Northern Sinai, and based on confirmed intelligence … the Air Force has over the past hours eliminated a number of spots,” read the post of the Egyptian Army. “The law enforcement forces, in cooperation with the air force, continue to carry out their operations and have established an intensive perimeter to scour the area around the event in search of the remaining terrorist elements.”
According to the witnesses, the responsible wore masks and military-like uniforms. They stationed themselves at each of the three exits of the mosque, and then they started attacking people who tried to escape and shot those who were kneeling in prayer. Their ISIS flags had the following phrase inscribed: “There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God,”
“There was a woman waiting outside for her husband and young child to finish praying; she came inside and found them dead next to each other,” Shetewy said.
After the attack, the injured people were taken to hospitals. However, the wounded surpassed the capacity of the Beir El-Abd hospital, which is about 30 miles away from the site of the attack. People with a critical condition were taken to the Suez Canal University hospital in Ismailia, almost 75 miles away. People are lined up in the local hospital to donate blood to the injured ones. 15,000 bags of blood had been already collected.
Egyptian President: The attack will not go unpunished
While the relatives of the victims grieve outside the mosque next to the shoes of their beloved ones, the Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi stated that this atrocity would not go unpunished. He ordered the creation of a mausoleum in memory of the victims. He also canceled a visit he had scheduled to Oman next week.
Millions around the world have shown solidarity towards the terrible attack. The Eiffel Tower in Paris turned off its shiny lights on Friday to show respect to the victims. As well, President Donald Trump tweeted about the attack saying that it was a “horrible and cowardly” attack.
Trump stated that the world cannot longer tolerate terrorism and that the extremists must be defeated. He said that he would call the Egyptian president to discuss last Friday’s attack.
No one got out of the mosque
One of the attack’s survivors said he lost nine members of his family during the attack. He refused to make his name public but did explain that no one could get out of the mosque. Other members of his family are recovering in the hospitals from the injuries.
Another survivor said he hid under the victims’ bodies to avoid being detected by the assassins who were searching for the survivors to kill them. He lost his brother and nephew during the attack, and he was struck in the eye by shrapnel. His son suffered a broken leg. He did not know about his son until several hours after the attack. Survivors refused to give out their names because they fear ISIS could search them and kill them.
The al Rawdah Sufi mosque, where the attack took place, is the birthplace of an important Sufi cleric. The Sufism is a branch of the Islam, but some jihadists consider it to be heretical. The attacked mosque was one of the most frequented ones in the area.
Those could be some of the reasons why the mosque was attacked. It is not the first time a mosque in Egypt has been targeted by terrorists; however, it is so far the deadliest attack in that country.