Egypt mosque attack leaves 155 dead

The militants targeted a mosque near al-Arish

The militants targeted a mosque near al-Arish

Suspected militants have launched a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai province, killing 155 people, state media report.

Witnesses say the al-Rawda mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed, near al-Arish, was targeted during Friday prayers.

Local police said men in four off-road vehicles opened fire on worshippers, AP reported.

Egypt has been fighting an Islamist insurgency in the region, which has intensified since 2013.

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There have been regular attacks blamed on militants on the Sinai peninsula, but this is the deadliest assault of its kind.

Pictures from the scene show rows of bloodied victims inside the mosque. More than 100 people were also wounded, reports say.

One report said the target appeared to be supporters of the security forces who were praying at the mosque.

President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is to meet security officials to discuss the incident, Egypt’s private Extra News TV reported.

It is not yet known who was behind Friday’s attack.

Jihadist militants have been waging an insurgency in recent years, stepping up attacks after Egypt’s military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.

Hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians have been killed since then, mostly in attacks carried out by Sinai Province group, which is affiliated to so-called Islamic State (IS).

In September, at least 18 policemen were killed in an attack on a convoy near al-Arish by militants affiliated with IS.

The jihadists have also killed dozens of people in attacks targeting Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority elsewhere in the country, and claimed they planted the bomb that brought down a Russian plane carrying tourists in Sinai in 2015, killing 224 people on board.

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