Updated at 11:24 a.m. ET
A terrorist attack that targeted a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has left at least 235 people dead and as many as 109 wounded Friday, that country’s state news agency reported.
The death toll makes it the biggest attack since the conflict in the North Sinai started six years ago.
The Middle East News Agency said the bombing and shooting attack took place in the city of Arish, which is about 30 miles from the border with the Gaza Strip.
Police officers told the Associated Press that men in four off-road vehicles shot at worshipers who were at the al-Rawdah mosque for Friday prayers.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has chaired a meeting with security officials in the aftermath of the attack, MENA reports. El-Sissi called the attack “criminal,” and “cowardly.” The AP report goes on:
“In a televised statement Friday evening, el-Sissi said that the attack ‘will not go unpunished’ and that Egypt will persevere with its war on terrorism. The suffering of the victims was not in vain, he added, and will only ‘add to our insistence’ to combat terrorism.”
Officials from around the world, including Israel, Iraq, France and the United Kingdom, condemned the attack. President Trump denounced the attack hours later.
It is not known yet who planned and carried out the assault on the mosque, but there has been an Islamist insurgency in the region for several years. Officials said a midair explosion of a Russian jet in 2015 over the Sinai was the work of terrorists. Sissi said the plane bombing was meant “to hit relations with Russia,” which has conducted military interventions in Syria’s civil war ostensibly to target the Islamic State there.
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