In the attack Friday afternoon, an explosion ripped through the Rawdah mosque in the town of Bir al-Abd, roughly 25 miles west of the town of El-Arish in the north of the Sinai Peninsula. After the explosion, gunmen opened fire on the worshipers gathered for weekly Friday prayers, officials said.
“Horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshipers in Egypt,” President Trump wrote on Twitter. “The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!”
While neither Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin nor the Israeli foreign ministry issued a statement about the attack in the hours that immediately followed it, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett wrote on Twitter: “I send my condolences and sympathy to our neighbors in this difficult time. It’s time for international unity in the fight against terrorism.
Itai Bardov, deputy head of mission at the Israeli embassy in Washington, called the perpetrators “evil and cowardly terrorists,” adding: “My deepest condolences to our brothers and sisters in Egypt.”
The Al Mayadeen television channel quoted a statement condemning the attack also by Hezbollah — a Shi’ite terrorist group based in Lebanon that Egypt, a Sunni nation, in 2009 accused of trying to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.
“Hezbollah strongly condemns the brutal crime that targeted a mosque,” the statement read. “The attack is the result of the Wahhabi extremist and tactical thinking.” The statement goes on to express sympathy with the victims’ families and the Egyptian people and government. Wahhabism is a radical offshoot of Sunni Islam.
Egypt has led a series of military campaigns against groups affiliated with the Sunni Islamic State terrorist group, especially in Sinai.
Hamas, a Sunni Palestinian group that an Egyptian court in 2014 banned following its designation as a terrorist group in that country, also condemned the terrorist attack at the Rawdah mosque, stating that “this attack violates all sacred and humanitarian principles,” according to Egypt Today.