The Coptic Church, headed by Pope Tawadros II, issued a statement in which it condemned today’s attack by Islamist jihadis against worshippers in al-Rawdah mosque in the village of Bir al-Abd west of al-Arish in North Sinai. The attack, which left some 235 dead and more than 130 injured, was waged through gunfire and makeshift bombs. Eyewitnesses say the attackers set the cars parked nearby on fire, fired at those fleeing the scene of the attack, and cut the road to the village. They also fired at the ambulance cars which arrived in large numbers. The attack is so far the deadliest against civilians.
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has declared three days of nationwide mourning, and convened an emergency national security council.
Egypt has been fighting Islamic jihadi terrorists based in North Sinai who gained control of the territory during the rise of Islamist power in Egypt in the wake of the Arab Spring in 2011. In 2013, a massive 33-million strong revolution which the Armed Forces backed overthrew the Islamist regime. Ever since, the jihadis in Sinai, who later declared their allegiance to IS (Islamic State) have waged vengeful attacks mainly against the military, police, and Copts. Today’s attack, however, targeted large numbers of civilians.
Pope Tawadros said the Coptic Church, in grief and sorrow, mourns the peaceful worshippers who died in today’s terrorist attack against al-Rawdah mosque in al-Arish, North Sinai. “We mourn our country’s martyrs,” the statement said. “We pray for their souls and for the Lord to comfort their families and fiends. We also pray for recovery of the injured.
“May the Lord have mercy on Egypt and deliver her from the clutches of the savage, unprecedented terrorism which Egyptians, in their time-honoured tolerance, totally reject. Egypt will remain a mainstay against terrorist forces.
“May God protect and guard our country against all evil.”
24 November 2017