At 1:50 PM EET
on 24 November 2017, the al-Rawda mosque
was attacked by roughly 40 gunmen during Friday prayers
. The mosque is located in the village of Al-Rawda
east of the town of Bir al-Abed
in Egypt's North Sinai Governorate
. It is one of the main mosques associated with the Jaririya Sufi
order, one of the largest Sufi orders
in North Sinai. The Jaririya order is named for its founder, Sheikh Eid Abu Jarir
, who was a member of the Sawarka tribe and the Jarira clan. The Jarira clan resides in the vicinity of Bir al-Abed.
The attack killed 311 people and injured at least 122, making it the deadliest attack in Egyptian history.
It was the second-deadliest terrorist
attack of 2017, after the Mogadishu bombings
on 14 October.
The attack was universally condemned by many world leaders and organizations.
Al-Rawda Mosque, which is located on Sinai's main coastal highway connecting the city of Port Said
, belongs to the local Jarir clan, of the Sawarka tribe, who follow the Jaririya (Gaririya) Sufi order
—an offshoot of the movement of Abu Ahmed al-Ghazawi,
of the broader Darqawa
The mosque is on the road between El Arish
and Bir al-Abed.
The mosque has a smaller zawiyah
, a Sufi lodge, attached.
According to local media, attackers in four off-road vehicles
planted three bombs; the attackers used the burning wrecks of cars to block off escape routes. After their detonation, they launched rocket propelled grenades
and opened fire on worshippers during the crowded Friday prayer at al-Rawda near Bir al-Abed.
When ambulances arrived to transport the wounded to hospitals, the attackers opened fire on them as well, having selected ambush points from which to target them. Local residents quickly responded, bringing the wounded to hospitals in their own cars and trucks, and even taking up weapons to fight back.
311 adults were killed in the attack, 27 children, and at least 122 other people were wounded.
Many of the victims worked at a nearby salt factory and were at the mosque for Friday prayers
No group claimed responsibility for the attack,
although there were reports that the attack appeared to be the work of Islamic State
's Wilayat Sinai
On 25 November, the Egyptian public prosecutor's office, citing interviews with survivors, said the attackers brandished the Islamic State flag
have been active in the Sinai
since July 2013, killing at least 1,000 Egyptian security forces personnel.
According to The New York Times
, in January 2017 an interview of an insurgent commander in Sinai appeared in issue five of the Islamic State magazine Rumiyah
, where the commander condemned Sufi practices and identified the district where the attack occurred as one of three areas where Sufis live in Sinai that Islamic State intended to "eradicate."
The community had been repeatedly threatened to refrain from Sufi practices.
Egypt declared three days of national mourning
following the attack.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
said the attack "shall not go unpunished".
The President also ordered the government to allocate funds for compensating families of the dead.
The attack was widely condemned by the international community, with many world leaders issuing official statements and social media
declared one day of national mourning on 27 November.
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
strongly condemned the attacks,
and weeks later issued a report that considered the massacre an attempt of genocide against the Sufi Muslim community of the Sinai Peninsula.
EOHR also called upon the Egyptian government to provide adequate protection for minorities.
President el-Sisi vowed to respond with "the utmost force". In the days immediately after the attack the Air Force
announced that it had pursued and destroyed of some of the militants' vehicles and weapons stocks.
Airstrikes were also conducted in the neighboring mountains.
In February 2018, Egypt responded to this attack with major air strikes and land assaults against terrorist positions in Sinai.
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Last edited on 9 May 2021, at 10:29
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