CAIRO – The death toll in a militant attack on a mosque in Egypt’s north Sinai region has risen to 235, Egyptian state television reported, quoting the public prosecutor.
In a televised speech the president pledged to “respond with brutal force”, adding that “the army and police will avenge our martyrs and return security and stability with force in the coming short period”.
Several hours later, Egyptian air force jets destroyed vehicles used in the attack and “terrorist” locations where weapons and ammunition were stocked, an army spokesman said.
Witnesses said assailants had surrounded the mosque with all-terrain vehicles and detonated a bomb. They then mowed down panicked worshippers as they tried to flee and used congregants’ vehicles they had set alight to block routes to the mosque.
The state prosecutor’s office said in a statement that 235 people were killed and 109 wounded in the attack, the scale of which is unprecedented in a four-year insurgency by Islamist extremist groups.