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Egypt mosque attack: Bomb and gun assault in North Sinai kills at least 235 people - as it happened

Tom Embury-Dennis@tomemburyd
Friday 24 November 2017 13:08
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People walk outside a mosque that was attacked in the northern city of Arish, Sinai Peninsula
People walk outside a mosque that was attacked in the northern city of Arish, Sinai Peninsula

At least 235 people have been killed after suspected militants set off a bomb and opened fire at a mosque in Egypt's restive northern Sinai province.

The attack on Friday targeted supporters of the security forces attending prayers there, two eyewitnesses and a security source said.

Eyewitnesses at Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, near Arish city, told local media ambulances rushed to take the wounded to nearby hospitals.

A total of 235 people had been confirmed dead, a health ministry spokesperson said, adding it is feared the toll will rise.

Egypt has been fighting a vicious Isis insurgency in Sinai for the last three years. Friday's attack comes after a spate of recent bombings targeting the police and army.

While most militant attacks target the security forces, hundreds of civilians have been killed in the violence. Attacks outside the region have targeted Egypt's Christian minority.

President Abdel Fattah al Sisi has convened an emergency security meeting in Cairo.

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Welcome to The Independent's live blog on the developing gun and bomb attack on a mosque in Egypt.

Adam Withnall24 November 2017 12:16
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At least 75 people have been killed after suspected militants set off a bomb and opened fire at a mosque in Egypt's restive northern Sinai province.

Adam Withnall24 November 2017 12:27
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Adam Withnall24 November 2017 12:28
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Reports of the death toll continue to vary, with Egyptian state media saying at least 54 people have been killed and 75 wounded. Michael Horowitz, a geopolitical and security analyst, says this would still make it the deadliest attack against civilians in Sinai since the emergence of Isis there.

Adam Withnall24 November 2017 12:32
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Adam Withnall24 November 2017 12:35
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The attack on Friday targeted supporters of the security forces attending prayers there, two eyewitnesses and a security source said.

Eyewitnesses at Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, near Arish city, told local media that those who were not killed in the blast and tried to run away were gunned down. 

Adam Withnall24 November 2017 12:36
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The death toll has been revised down to 54.

Adam Withnall24 November 2017 12:40
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Hebda Farouk Mahfouz, an Egyptian reporter for the Washington Post, says no group has claimed responsibility yet.

Adam Withnall24 November 2017 12:42
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Lizzie Dearden, The Independent's Home Affairs and Security Correspondent, has some background on the attack:

Isis' affiliate in the region calls itself Wilayat Sinai and is predominantly made up of fighters from the local insurgent group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which pledged allegiance to Isis after sending emissaries to Syria in 2014.

Its attacks have dominantly focused on police and security checkpoints, but the faction claimed responsibility for the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268 in 2015.

The Russian passenger plane was flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg when it went down in the desert, killing all 224 people on board after Isis claimed it detonated an IED hidden inside a soft drinks can.

The Sinai Peninsula has been identified among several potential bases for Isis' external operations following the loss of its self-declared "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq.

Adam Withnall24 November 2017 12:43
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At least 85 people are now confirmed dead, according to Egyptian state news agency Mena.

Adam Withnall24 November 2017 12:49

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