One week after the worst bloodshed of its kind in Egypt’s modern history, residents in a village in North Sinai on Friday (December 1) recalled the attack at Al Rawdah mosque, in which more than 300 people were gunned down by assailants carrying the black flag of Islamic State.
The mosque in Bir al-Abed was packed with hundreds of worshippers for Friday (November 24) prayers when gunmen in military-style uniforms and masks appeared in a doorway and at windows. At least 305 people including 27 children were killed in the attack, in which a bomb was detonated and militants gunned down fleeing worshippers, state media and witnesses report.
It was a huge toll for a tiny village. Tribal leader Ibrahim el-Menaie, told Reuters via social media that it has a population of only 800. Egyptians were stunned because the attack was directed at a mosque – a rarity in the country’s history of Islamist insurgencies.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault, but since 2013 Egyptian security forces have battled an Islamic State affiliate in the mainly desert region, and militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.