Egypt Hunts For Killers After Mosque Attack Leaves At Least 235 Dead

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Militants bombed a Sufi mosque and fired on worshippers in the volatile Sinai Peninsula during Friday prayers, Egyptian officials said, killing at least 85 people in what appeared to be the latest attack by the area's Islamic State affiliate.

State media showed images of bloodied victims and bodies covered in blankets inside the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of El Arish, the main city in North Sinai.

There have been a wave of attacks on the country's Coptic Christian minority, but attacks on mosques are rare in Egypt. 33 Egyptians security forces were killed and a three-month long state of emergency ensued.

The gunmen then mowed down panicked worshippers as they attempted to flee and used the congregants' vehicles they had set alight to block routes to the mosque.

Al-Sisi said that the Friday's attack aimed to spread a seed of doubt among Egyptians about the capacity of the state, but affirmed that the armed forces and police will be responding to restore security in north Sinai.

"This evil terrorist attack will only make us more determined, solid, and strong to fight against terrorism", he said.

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The Sinai branch is one of Islamic State's surviving branches following the collapse of its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq after military defeats by USA -backed forces. Our strength & resolve will overpower their extremist ideology.

Ahmed Al-Tayeb, a top Sunni imam, told a nationwide television audience that the Al-Azhar Mosque supports the country's leadership and the military against the terrorism groups, which he said have a false understanding of Islam. "My honest condolences to all those affected by such a barbaric act", he tweeted.

Witnesses said bomb explosion ripped through the Rawda mosque as worshippers gathered for weekly Friday prayers.

On the Jordanian royal family's official Twitter account, King Abdullah II condemned what he called a "heinous terrorist attack".

"Strongly condemn the barbaric terrorist attack on a place of worship in Egypt".

British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson deplored the terrorist attack that targeted innocent worshipers.