Source: The Tahrir Institute For Middle East Policy
During Friday prayers on November 24, a group of armed assailants attacked worshipers at Belal Mosque in the village of Rawda in North Sinai, killing 311 civilians, among them 27 children, and injuring 128. Egypt’s public prosecutor and eyewitnesses placed the number of assailants between 25 and 30, reporting that they used explosives and gunfire in an attempt to kill all inside, barring egress for those trying to flee. Reports indicate they also targeted male villagers in their homes and in the surrounding area, and burned vehicles and targeted first responders to prevent medical care for any wounded.
While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, it bears many of the hallmarks of Wilayat Sinai, the Islamic State’s branch in the peninsula, and in this way, highlights the persistence of violence amid a general obscurity around the actual security situation in the province. The massacre comes months after the emir of Wilayat Sinai’s hisbah (Islamic police), whose identity is unknown, made public the group’s intentions to target members of Egypt’s Sufi community, and, specifically, members of the Jariri order in Rawda. Wilayat Sinai has previously highlighted the order’s close relationship with the state….
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