Turn­bull con­demns deadly Egypt attack

Sunday Tasmanian - - News -

PRIME Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull has con­demned the “ap­palling and bar­baric” ter­ror­ist attack that killed more than 230 peo­ple at a mosque in Egypt’s North Si­nai.

Mil­i­tants det­o­nated a bomb and gunned down wor­ship­pers dur­ing Fri­day prayers, in the dead­li­est attack in the coun­try’s modern his­tory.

The Australian Em­bassy in Cairo has been ad­vised that no Aus­tralians are known to have been af­fected by the attack.

“We send our con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims and wish a speedy re­cov­ery for the in­jured,” Mr Turn­bull wrote on Twit­ter yes­ter­day. “We are res­o­lute in our de­ter­mi­na­tion to de­feat Is­lamist ter­ror­ism.”

EGYPT’S Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah al-Sisi has vowed to re­spond force­fully after at­tack­ers killed at least 235 wor­ship­pers in a packed mosque in restive North Si­nai prov­ince.

Al-Sisi de­clared three days of mourn­ing would be­gin the day after the gun and bomb as­sault on the Rawda mosque, 40km west of cap­i­tal El-Ar­ish.

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”.

Hours later Egyp­tian jets de­stroyed ve­hi­cles used in the attack and “ter­ror­ist” lo­ca­tions where weapons and am­mu­ni­tion were stocked.

Wit­nesses said as­sailants had sur­rounded the mosque with 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 235 peo­ple were killed and 109 wounded — the most deadly in­ci­dent in a four-year in­sur­gency by Is­lamist ex­trem­ists.

Chil­dren were among the dead. World lead­ers con­demned the attack. US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump con­demned on Twit­ter the “hor­ri­ble and cow­ardly ter­ror­ist attack on in­no­cent and de­fence­less wor­ship­pers”.

Grand Imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed elTayeb, con­demned “in the strong­est terms this bar­baric ter­ror­ist attack”.

There was no claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity for the blood­shed. The Is­lamic State group’s Egypt branch has killed hun­dreds of po­lice­men and sol­diers and civil­ians ac­cused of work­ing with the au­thor­i­ties, in at­tacks north of the Si­nai Penin­sula.

They have also tar­geted fol­low­ers of the Sufi branch of Sunni Is­lam as well as Chris­tians. The head of a Be­douin mili­tia that fights IS said the mosque is known as a place where Su­fis gather.

The IS group shares the pu­ri­tan Salafi view that Su­fis are heretics.

The ji­hadists had pre­vi­ously kid­napped and be­headed an el­derly Sufi leader, ac­cus­ing him of prac­tis­ing magic.

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