JOHANNESBURG, November 30 – The death toll in last Friday’s attack on a Sufi Mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has risen to 311, following the death of Abdel-Rahman Moussa, who was one of the 128 injured in the attack which also left 27 children dead, according to Egypt’s North Sinai health directorate.
About 30 gunmen, who were reportedly carrying flags of the Islamic State (IS), gunned down hundreds of worshipers as they prayed at the Al-Rawda Mosque west of Al Arish city, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s recent history.
The gunmen had also planted explosives in the mosque and under the cars of some of the worshipers. More people were mowed down as they attempted to flee the mosque with ambulances attempting to ferry away the wounded also shot at.
Ayman Walash, the Egyptian Embassy in Pretoria’s press attaché, told the African News Agency (ANA) shortly after the attack that the death toll was expected to rise as many critically injured people were fighting for their lives. At that point the death toll stood at 305.
Most of the injured are still undergoing treatment at several hospitals, mainly in Ismailia and the capital Cairo.
In response to the slaughter Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El Sisi ordered a military campaign which he warned would be carried out with an iron fist.
In a Tuesday shootout, between Egyptian security forces and the Islamist militants, 11 militants were killed in the restive Sinai.
And on Wednesday El Sisi gave Egyptian security forces just three months to restore stability and security in the Sinai Peninsula, authorising them to use the “utmost force”. His order came during a speech he gave at a public celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth, at the Islamic Al-Azhar’s conference centre in Cairo.
The North African country’s fight against jihadis has been ongoing for years, but spiked following the 2013 overthrow of former president Mohamed Morsi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who became Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2012.