The death toll in the militant attack on the mosque on Friday in Egypt’s North Sinai rose to 305 including 27 children, the state prosecution said Saturday in a statement detailing the gruesome massacre.
At least 128 people were injured in the attack.
It said there were between 25 and 30 attackers in camouflage and had arrived in five all-terrain vehicles, surrounded the mosque and opened fire on the worshippers during Friday prayers, it said.
The attackers had and later set fire to seven cars belonging to the worshippers.
The statement said witnesses recounted hearing gunshots and explosions before some of the assailants entered the mosque.
The militant gunmen who attacked the mosque were carrying ISIS flag, according to a statement from the Egypt public prosecutor’s office.
Ministry of Health sources said that the attackers have also opened fire on ambulances carrying the injured.
The Egyptian military is pursuing the gunmen in an operation that is led by the armed forces Chief of Staff. A state of emergency has been announced in Cairo.
Eyewitnesses told Al-Arabiya that the terrorists set fire to cars after shooting worshippers at the mosque and then cut off the road leading to the village.
President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi held an urgent meeting of the Security Committee, which includes the ministers of defense and interior and the head of the General Intelligence Service, to discuss the repercussions of the mosque incident and the security situation in Sinai in general.
The Presidency of the Republic also declared mourning for 3 days in remembrance of the victims of the bombing of Al-Rawda mosque.
A security source has told Al Arabiya that military and police are engaging the gunmen while residents of the village of Rawda have refused to provide shelter to the attackers.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has instructed the military and police to secure all religious sites in Sinai after the attack.
Egyptian authorities earleir closed the recently opened Rafah border passage with Gaza after the attack citing security concerns.
The Presidency of the Egyptian Republic condemned the attack and in a statement said: “Justice will meted out to all those who participated, supported, financed and instigated the attack of North Sinai.”
“The treacherous work will not pass without decisive retaliation,” the statement read.
The Presidency of the Republic added that Egypt will win the war it is waging with “honor and strength” against terrorism.
Fight against terrorists in Egypt
In July this year, at least 23 soldiers were killed when suicide car bombs hit two military checkpoints in the Sinai, an attack claimed by ISIS.
Militants have tried to expand beyond the largely barren, Sinai Peninsula into Egypt’s heavily populated mainland, hitting Coptic Christian churches and pilgrims.
In May, gunmen attacked a Coptic group traveling to a monastery in southern Egypt, killing 29.
Condemnations of the attack
Jordan condemned the attack and described it as barbaric and cowardly. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also condemned the attack along with the Arab league and the Organization of Islamic Countries.
The US and Britain also affirmed their stance with Egypt against terrorism.
Egypt’s two religious authorities also condemned the gruesome attack today with statements issued from the Azhar mosque and the Orthodox Church of Egypt.