The militants who carried out a massive terror attack on an Egyptian mosque were carrying Islamic State flags, the country’s chief prosecutor said Saturday.
Nabil Sadeq also said that the death toll had risen to 305 people, including 27 children, making it the deadliest terrorist incident in Egypt’s modern history.
In a coordinated attack during Friday prayer services, Islamic militants bombed the al-Rawdah mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and opened fire on worshipers as they tried to flee to safety. Survivors told Sadeq’s office that the attack was carried out by 25 to 30 militants wearing masks and military-style uniforms, reports ABC News.
As of Saturday afternoon, ISIS had not formally claimed responsibility for the attack. ISIS-aligned militants are entrenched in the Sinai Peninsula and have clashed with Egyptian security forces there for several years.
The al-Rawdah mosque is frequently attended by Sufi Muslims, a mystic school of Islam considered heretical by Sunni Islamic militants, including ISIS. Although past ISIS attacks in Sinai have targeted Egyptian troops and police, as well as Christian churches, the terror group has struck Sufis in other countries such as Iraq.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a former armed forces commander, has promised the “utmost force” in retribution for Friday’s attack.
“What is happening is an attempt to stop us from our efforts in the fight against terrorism,” Sisi said Friday in a televised address, according to the BBC. “The armed forces and the police will avenge our martyrs and restore security and stability with the utmost force.”
Egyptian officials said Saturday that the military had carried out air strikes and raids overnight against militants believed to be responsible.
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