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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, December 15, 2017

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305 people, including 27 children were killed

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CAIRO, Egypt - On Sunday, as the death toll from the Egypt mosque massacre, rose to what reports assessed was four times the scale of Orlando and London atrocities combined - investigators revealed more details about the attack.

According to Egyptian authorities, the attackers wore military combat uniforms and were armed with automatic machine guns as they carried out the deadly assault on the Sufi mosque in northern Sinai.

Authorities further noted that 25 to 30 attackers arrived in five SUVs at the al Rawdah Sufi mosque in Bir al-Abed town on Friday. 

The state prosecutor Nabil Sadeq said in a statement that some wore masks and at least one of the attackers was carrying an Islamic State (ISIS) flag.

The attackers were further said to have positioned themselves at the building's entrances and the front of the mosque shortly before the massive gunfire and loud explosions rang out.

The prosecutor further said that 305 people, including 27 children were killed in the attack, with an additional 128 people suffering injuries.

According to reports, the al Rawdah Sufi mosque, which is known to be the birthplace of an important Sufi cleric, came under attack just as hundreds of worshippers gathered there for morning prayers and some authorities said that no one got out of the mosque alive.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced three days of national mourning and ordered the armed forces to build a memorial to those killed at the mosque.

Ahmed El-Tayyeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, the premier religious authority in Egypt, condemned the "barbaric attack" on the mosque and said Egyptians would prevail over terrorism with solidarity and determination.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far and President Sisi has also vowed a stern response to the massacre, which is believed to be the deadliest terrorist attack in the country.

The attack, experts said, however, bore the hallmarks of a strike by ISIS, which maintains a foothold in the north of the Sinai Peninsula and inspires local Islamist extremist groups despite the efforts of Egyptian security forces.

On Saturday, Egyptian military said that the warplanes conducted airstrikes on suspected terrorist outposts believed to be containing weapons, ammunition and radical elements following the attack.

Meanwhile, according to the Global Terrorism Database, the attack was the most destructive militant attack in modern Egyptian history since the growing death toll of the attack is already four times the scale of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting and the 2005 London bombings combined.

In comparison, the Orlando shooting at a gay nightclub in the U.S. last year and the series of co-ordinated bombings in London in 2005 – two of the deadliest terror events in the Western world in recent years – claimed 77 lives.

More recently, the high-profile string of terror attacks in the United Kingdom this year accumulated a total death toll of 36 – Westminster (five), London Bridge (eight), London mosque (one), Manchester (22) – while the mass shooting in Las Vegas last month killed 58.

This year, the organization said that there have been more than 1000 terror attacks globally, killing about 7000 people.

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