If the Islamic State carried out the assault on an Egyptian mosque, it could be an attempt to remind its supporters around the world that the group still exists.
Egypt is in mourning. On November 24, armed terrorists attacked worshippers at a mosque in North Sinai during Friday prayers. After detonating explosives inside the building as the sermon was underway, dozens of attackers waited outside the mosque to shoot those who ran for their lives.
At least 305 people were killed and hundreds more injured, yet no group has claimed responsibility. According to Egyptian authorities, there were up to 30 terrorists. The attack has been described as the deadliest in Egypt’s modern history.
As per the BBC, the Rawda mosque is “used by the local Sawarka tribe, which is known to cooperate with the security services against militants.” It is also frequented by followers of Sufism, a “mystical branch of Islam that is condemned by some jihadist groups.”
Over the past few years, the Sinai Peninsula has been a battleground between Egyptian security forces and armed militias. This region, which is located in eastern Egypt, has been in a state of emergency since 2014 when 33 soldiers were killed by insurgents allied with the Islamic State (IS). Known as the Sinai Province Group, this terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for past assaults in Sinai and elsewhere, including the bombing of a Russian plane in 2015 and attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christians.
For Orla Guerin, the BBC’s correspondent in Cairo, if IS carried out the attack, as it is believed, “this could be an attempt to remind supporters around the world that they are still here, still relevant and can still inflict terrible damage on their enemies.”
This could be dangerous for Egypt and the Middle East. As the Islamic State is slowly defeated in Syria and Iraq, the group could set its sights on other countries in the region.
*Watch the above video by The New York Times for footage of the mosque attack in Egypt.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.