President Trump said he planned to call Egypt’s president following Friday’s bombing and shooting attack in the country’s volatile Sinai Peninsula, a horrific assault that claimed the lives of at least 235 people and wounded 109 others.
Trump tweeted Friday he would discuss the “tragic terrorist attack” with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. Trump continued his tweet by reiterating the United States’ need for a border wall and travel forbid.
“Will be calling the President of Egypt in a short while to discuss the tragic terrorist attack, with so much loss of life. We have to get TOUGHER AND SMARTER than ever before, and we will. Need the WALL, need the BAN! God bless the person or persons of Egypt, ” Trump tweeted.
Earlier Friday, Trump denounced the deadly attack, calling it “horrible and cowardly.”
Trump tweeted Friday: “Horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshipers in Egypt. The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence! “
The White House also released a statement condemning the attack and offered their condolences to the families affected.
Islamist radicals were suspected of launching the attack on the al-Rawdah mosque in the town of Bir al-Abd, some 25 miles from the North Sinai provincial capital of el-Arish, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported. Officials suspected a local affiliate of ISIS of carrying out the two attacks. Islamic militants consider Sufis heretics because of their less literal interpretings of the faith, The Associated Press reported.
Security officers said the men opened fire on worshipers during prayers while driving in off-road vehicles. A Ministry of Health spokesman said the terrorists set off a bomb during the attack.
“[ the extremists] were shooting at people as they left the mosque, ” a resident told Reuters. “They were shooting at the ambulances too.”
Resident Ashraf el-Hefny told The Associated Press many of the victims were employees at a nearby salt firm who had come for Friday services at the mosque, which had contained some 300 worshipers.
“Local people brought the wounded to hospital on their own vehicles and trucks, ” el-Hefny said.
Security officials told local media that activists were blocking escape routes from the region by blowing up automobiles and leaving the burning wrecks in the street.
Sky News reported the Egyptian Government declared a three day period of mourning in accordance with the mosque attack.
El-Sissi condemned the attack, calling it “criminal” and “cowardly” and conveyed condolences to the victims and their families. The chairman vowed the attack “will not go unpunished” and that Egypt will persevere in its war on terrorism.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but ISIS has targeted Sufis in the past , notably beheading a leading Sufi religious figure, blind people sheikh Suleiman Abu Heraz, last year and posting photos of the killing online.
The attack was the largest single aimed at providing Egyptian civilians and the first on a large mosque congregation since the ISIS affiliate began its campaign of violence against the country following the military’s 2013 depose of an elected but divisive Islamist president.
Last month, activists assaulted police in the Western Desert, killing 16 policemen. Security officials have told journalists that dozens more, including high-ranking counterterrorism officers, succumbed in the Oct. 20 attack some 84 miles southwest of the capital, Cairo.
Militants have also been blamed for attacking Egypt’s small Christian population. Assaults on the Christian community has surged in recent month with a series of suicide bombings claimed by the radical Islamic state group of killing more than 100 since Dec. 2016.
The Associated Press contributed to this report .
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