Newstalk
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13.24 24 Nov 2017


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Updated 16.40

At least 235 people have been killed and dozens more injured after a suspected Islamic State bomb and gun attack on a mosque in Egypt.

The Egyptian Government has declared three days of mourning following the attack on al-Rawdah mosque, which has injured at least 130 people.

The mosque is in Bir al-Abed in the volatile northern Sinai Peninsula, around 40 km from the provincial capital of el-Arish, which has been regularly targeted by IS militants in recent years.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack - which came as worshippers took part in weekly Friday prayers - but state television reports that it had likely been carried out by IS.

President Abdel Fattah al Sisi has called an emergency security meeting.

Image: Google Maps

Officials said the militants arrived at the mosque in four off-road vehicles before detonating a bomb and opening fire, with ambulances then seen taking casualties to local hospitals.

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

"They were shooting at the ambulances too."

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney offered the sympathies of the Irish people to those injured and the families of those killed.

He said: “I utterly condemn this heinous attack on people engaged in Friday prayers. The Egyptian people have long shown their resolve against hatred and intolerance”.

President Michael D Higgins stated: “As President of Ireland may I offer the sympathy of the people of Ireland to the families of the victims of the attacks in Bir al-Abed; and express our solidarity with the people of the region, whose right to worship is being attacked.

"These attacks will have shocked people all over the world.”

Cairo's international airport promptly boosted security following today's attack, with troops seen patrolling passenger halls, conducting searches and manning checkpoints.

IS militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers in the region since fighting intensified over the last three years, although they have mostly targeted Egypt's security forces.

They have also struck against Christian churches and pilgrims in the country.

A bombing in October 2014 saw the Government declare a three-month state of emergency, but Friday's attack is region's the deadliest to date. 


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