The mosque was a Sufi one
About 305 Egyptians, including 27 children, were killed in a gun and bomb attack when terrorists targeted a Sufi mosque in the northern Sinai region of Egypt. 128 individuals were wounded, making this event as one of the deadliest in the country's recent history. Even though no group has claimed responsibility for the al-Rawdah mosque slaughter, the crime has a number of hallmarks of ISIS. Egypt has been fighting this terrorist organization for a number of years.
According to the attack survivors and the top prosecutor in charge of the case, approximately 24 heavily armed criminals started to fire indiscriminately during the Friday prayer. Witnesses at the Bir al-Abed locality where the shooting took place reported that the attackers first started to fire outside the windows and the main door. Cars parked outside the mosque were set ablaze, thus making escape almost impossible. The gunman even fired at the incoming ambulances which began to arrive. A few attackers had masks on. A number of mosque-goers said that they saw Islamic State flags held by attackers. It is curious that despite the banner signage, the IS has not claimed due responsibility for this attack.
Survivors heard the assailants shouting “Allahu Akbar” which translates as Allah is Great in English when they opened fire on those present. It was reported that the militants checked who they have shot for signs of life. Any survivors were then shot in the head to ensure they are dead. Even when fleeing, the criminals shot at ambulances. Nabil Sadeq, the chief prosecutor of Egypt, said the attackers were aged from 25 to 30 years old. They were dressed in camouflage pants like the military and wore black T-shirts. Mohamed Abdel Fattah, the Imam of the mosque, told media "I found people piled on top of each other and they kept firing at anyone. They fired at anyone who breathed."
We grieve this violence & mourn for all those impacted by the terrorist attack at this mosque in Bir al-Abed, Egypt. May our compassion go beyond borders. https://t.co/9hmNbEBN0M
— Eugene Cho (@EugeneCho) November 24, 2017
This attack was the first in Egypt when it comes to ISIS purposefully attacking fellow Muslims and not Coptic Christians on this scale. On further analysis, the reason for the attack was clear. The terrorist organization has no love lost for Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam which the criminals term “grave worshipers.”
The Egyptian Government was soon to respond to the attack. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi launched air strikes on what Cairo termed “terrorist outposts”. Vehicles used in the attack and the concerned terrorists were destroyed and killed respectively.