Donald Trump uses Egypt mosque attack that killed 235 to promote border wall and travel ban

'We have to get TOUGHER AND SMARTER than ever before,' the President tweets

Emily Shugerman
New York
Friday 24 November 2017 19:59 GMT
Egypt mosque attack: Locator map

President Donald Trump has used the terror attack in Egypt to advocate for his travel ban and proposed border wall with Mexico.

At least 235 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in an attack on a Sufi mosque in Egypt's North Sinai region on Friday. The incident appears to be the deadliest terrorist attack ever committed on Egyptian soil.

The US President tweeted his condolences to the people of Egypt, and added: “We have to get TOUGHER AND SMARTER than ever before, and we will. Need the WALL, need the BAN!”

Mr Trump said he would speak with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi later that day. He had just returned to his South Florida estate after a round of golf at the Trump National Golf Club.

The tweet mirrored Mr Trump's response to other suspected terrorist attacks, such as the Parsons Green bombing in September. At the time, Mr Trump tweeted that the ban "should be far larger, tougher and more specific – but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!”

The President's executive order, however, does not list Egypt as one of the eight countries whose residents are banned from entering the US. The current order – the third iteration of Mr Trump's long-promised travel ban – bars various types of travellers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela.

The order was blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii shortly before it was set to take effect. The ruling from US District Judge Derrick Watson barred the Trump administration from banning travellers from all eight countries, except North Korea and Venezuela.

Egypt mosque attack: Locator map

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, however, partially repealed that ruling earlier this month. The appeals court allowed the ban to go into effect, with exceptions for foreign nationals who have "bona fide" relationships with people or entities in the US. Lawyers for the Trump administration have asked the Supreme Court to allow the ban to take effect in full.

The President's proposed border wall with Mexico has been similarly beleaguered. Contractors have assembled prototypes of the wall in San Diego, and US Customs and Border Protection officials are reviewing them this month. But Congress has yet to pass a budget with funding for the wall, which administration officials have said will cost $1.6bn to construct.

In Egypt, Mr el-Sisi responded to the attack by promising to "stand up to, resist and battle" the terrorists. No one has claimed responsibility for the incident to date, but it is similar to other Isis attacks in the region.

"We will respond to this act with brute force against these terrorists," Mr el-Sisi said, adding: "Egypt is facing terrorism on behalf of the region and the world."

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