The attack on a Sufi Muslim mosque in the Egyptian Sinai on Friday saw Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah united in condemnation, as Islamic State affiliated gunmen killed more than 300 worshippers during Friday prayers.
A Hezbollah spokesman blamed “Wahhabi extremists,” in a nod to the fundamentalist Islamic doctrine whose adherents are typically based in Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism is believed to be the inspiration for terror groups like Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
More than 25 heavily armed attackers pulled up to Al-Rawdah Mosque in military fatigues driving SUVs during Friday prayers, before using explosives and guns to kill more than 300 Sufi worshippers, including 27 children. With more than 100 in hospital, the death toll from Egypt’s worst terror attack is expected to rise in the coming days.
Witnesses said attackers walked calmly among the bodies of the dead and injured, shooting anyone still breathing, while others said they waited until ambulances turned up before attacking paramedics too.
Israel expressed its solidarity by lighting the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality building in the colours of the Egyptian flag.
Meanwhile the European Muslim Jewish Leadership Council (MJLC), which was founded late last year, called the mosque attack a “vicious act” and said they would step up interfaith activities.
A spokesman promised to “increase efforts of promoting the close relationship between Muslim and Jewish communities across Europe, a relationship which convinces our inhabitants that there is no room for extremism, radicalisation and terrorism within a civilised society”.
Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the country’s former head of the armed forces who led a successful coup in 2013, said he would respond with “brute force” and “an iron fist”.
Witnesses reported the attackers as carrying the black flag of ISIS. In 2015 the group’s active Sinai branch bombed a Russian passenger jet full of tourists leaving a Red Sea resort, with the loss of all 224 people on-board.