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Egypt: Hundreds dead as mosque attackers gun down fleeing muslim worshipers

Egyptian media reports say at least 235 people have been killed in a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in the country’s northern Sinai Peninsula.

The attack occurred in Bir al-Abed in North Sinai province shortly after Friday prayers.

Egyptian state media MENA put the death toll at 235, citing an official security source. It also said that 120 people were wounded in the attack.

The government has declared a three-day period of mourning for the victims.

No group has claimed responsibility but local affiliates of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group have claimed previous attacks.

Officials said the attackers arrived in four 4WD vehicles and carried out their attack while the sermon was being delivered after Friday prayers.

Local media reports said the attackers planted explosives and then opened fire on worshippers.

The attackers next targeted fleeing worshipers with gunfire.

The Bir al-Abed mosque, located about 40km west of El Arish, the capital of North Sinai, was frequented by Sufis.

Images on Egyptian state TV showed dozens of bodies covered in blood, lying inside a mosque.

Most of their faces were covered with white cloths, while other bodies were wrapped in prayer rugs. Some men and women could be seen next to the bodies.

The previous attacks in Sinai mostly targeted security forces and members of Egypt’s Coptic Christians minority.

However, mosques in North Sinai’s Sheikh Zuweid town have also been attacked.

It is believed the mosque was an easy target because it was outside the province’s main cities.

US President Donald Trump condemned the massacre as “horrible and cowardly”.

“The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!,” he wrote on Twitter.

Turkey, Italy and Kuwait also condemned the attack.

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