Egypt Mosque Attack Leaves More Than 300 Dead

At least 305 people have been killed and dozens injured during a bomb and gun attack at a mosque in Egypt.

Suspected militants targeted the al-Rawda mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed, in the restive Sinai region, during Friday prayers on November 24. The mosque is about 40 kilometers (24 miles) west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish.

Attackers from four off-road vehicles opened fire on worshipers inside the religious building.

"They were shooting at people as they left the mosque," a resident whose relatives were at the scene told Reuters. "They were shooting at the ambulances too."

Some of the worshipers were thought to be Sufi Muslims, whom some hardliners and extremists consider as heretics.

Rawda mosque attack
Egyptians walk past bodies following a gun and bombing attack at the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometers west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish, on November 24. STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, thought to be the deadliest on civilians in the region. Militants from the Sinai Province group—affiliated to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization—have killed hundreds of military and police members in the region in the past years.

In July, at least 23 soldiers were killed when suicide car bombs hit two military checkpoints in the Sinai. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

The region has witnessed intensified violence at the hands of militants since 2013, when the then democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown in a military coup.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the current President of Egypt and former military commander who led the coup against Morsi, convened a high-level meeting of security officials after the mosque attack, according to Egypt's official news agency MENA.

The country declared a three-day mourning period.

Militants have also targeted Coptic Christians in Egypt on several occasions.

In May, at least 29 people were killed when ISIS attacked a bus heading to the Saint Samuel monastery, near Minya. Another 29 people were killed when an ISIS suicide bomber targeted St Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo in December 2016.

The previous year, ISIS circulated images of its militants executing 21 Coptic Christians kidnapped from Sirte, Libya. In response, Egypt launched airstrikes targeting ISIS positions.