Egyptian forces strike militants after deadly mosque attack

Egypt’s military said Saturday This kind of had carried out air strikes as well as raids overnight against militants held responsible for killing more than 230 worshippers at a mosque in North Sinai.

The bloodiest attack in Egypt’s modern history, in which militants gunned down worshippers, brought condemnation via leaders via Washington to Moscow, while President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared three days of mourning from the shocked nation.

No group has claimed responsibility, however Egyptian forces are battling a stubborn Islamic State affiliate from the region, one of the surviving branches of the militant group after This kind of suffered defeats by U.S.-backed forces in Iraq as well as Syria.

“The air force has over the past few hours eliminated quite a few outposts used by terrorist elements,” the army said.

Witnesses say gunmen set off a bomb at the end of Friday prayers at the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of El-Arish city, as well as then opened fire as worshippers tried to flee, shooting at ambulances as well as setting fire to cars to block roads.

Images on state media showed bloodied victims as well as bodies covered in blankets inside the mosque.

Striking a mosque could be a shift in tactics for the Sinai militants, who have previously attacked troops as well as police as well as more recently tried to spread their insurgency to the mainland by hitting Christian churches as well as pilgrims.

The massive casualties from the Sinai attack as well as the targeting of a mosque stunned Egyptians who have struggled through instability after the 2011 uprising ousted long-standing leader Hosni Mubarak, as well as the years of protests that will followed.

“May the souls of all those who die rest in peace, Muslims as well as Christians alike… these people have no religion,” said Abdullah an unemployed man in downtown Cairo referring to the attackers. “Every some other day someone dies, every some other day a church is usually bombed … where is usually the security?”

Local sources said some of the worshippers were Sufis, whom groups such as Islamic State consider targets because they revere saints as well as shrines, which for Islamists is usually tantamount to idolatry. Islamic State has targeted Sufi Muslims as well as Shi’ite in some other countries like Iraq.

The jihadists in Egypt’s Sinai have also attacked local tribes as well as their militias for working with the army as well as police.

Sisi, a former armed forces commander who supporters see as a bulwark against Islamist militants, promised the “utmost force” against those responsible for Friday’s attack. Security has been a key reason for his supporters to back him, as well as he is usually likely to run for re-election next year.

“What is usually happening is usually an attempt to stop us via our efforts from the fight against terrorism,” he said on Friday.

North Sinai, a mostly desert area which stretches via the Suez Canal eastwards to the Gaza Strip as well as Israel, has long been a security headache for Egypt as well as is usually a strategic region for Cairo because of its sensitive borders.

Local militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, once allied to al Qaeda, split via This kind of as well as declared allegiance to Islamic State in 2014. however attacks from the Sinai worsened after 2013 when Sisi led the overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood after mass protests against his rule.

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