Mia Rollins, Staff Writer
On Nov. 24, terrorists targeted and bombed the Al-Rawdah mosque in North Sinai killing over 300 Egyptians, including 27 children. The attack has now been named the deadliest killing in Egyptian history.
It’s estimated that roughly around 40 armed men carried out this deadly attack. Some waited outside the entrances and exits shooting at those who tried to flee.
Although many went under fire, one surviving man was able to walk out of the mosque. The man explained that he was able to survive after he hid under the bodies of the other victims. Like many of the injured survivors, he has been kept anonymous in fear that the same men will come to kill him. Sadly, he has lost nine of his family members to the terrorist attack. The survivor told CNN News, “The military could hear the gunshots from their unit and they didn’t move. Even the ambulances came under fire.”
An eyewitness, Ibrahim Sheteewi, reported to the New York Times, “The scene was horrific.” The Al-Rawdah mosque is located in the town of Bir al-Abed in North Sinai. The mosque follows the Jarirya Sufi order. CNN also released that the mosque is also known to be the birthplace of a Sufi cleric of importance. However, it is still up for debate as for the possible reasoning or trigger for this act of terror.
The attackers blocked off nearby roads and used rocket-propelled grenades while opening fire. Ambulances were the first to arrive but were quickly shot at, forcing the vehicles to flee the scene. It was civilians and locals who took victims to hospitals in their own cars and used their own weapons to try and fight back.
Egypt declared three days of national mourning following the event. The president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi broadcasted a statement on television saying, “We will respond to this act with brute force against these terrorists.” He had also released on his Facebook page that Egypt’s armed forces plans on building a memorial site to those who died at the mosque.
“This terrorist act will strengthen our resolve, steadfastness and will to stand up to, resist and battle against terrorism,” said Fattah el-Sisi. Other Egyptians as well have come forward to agree with the president’s call for action and in memoriam for the victims.
Gamal Awad, a senior preacher at the Ministry of Religious Endowments told CNN, “the only way to fight terrorists is to kill them.”
The current Grand Imam, leader of prayer of Al-Azhar, the Egyptian mosque in Islamic Cairo, had commented on the events saying, “The shedding of blood, the violation of the sacred houses of God and terrorizing of worshipers are acts of corruption on the earth.”
This attack in particular shocked the country, since bombings on mosques in Egypt are uncommon. The state prosecutor had also reported to CNN that the men in masks were carrying an ISIS flag. Although the cause for the bombing is still unknown, Egyptian authorities are diligently seeking answers while ensuring that the victims of this horror are remembered.