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Egyptians flock to attacked Sinai mosque

Al Azhar shaikh calls for unity to eliminate “cancerous” terrorism

Image Credit: REUTERS
Military secure worshippers outside Al Rawdah mosque during the first Friday prayer after the terror attack.
Gulf News

Cairo: Muslim Egyptians and officials on Friday flocked to a Sinai mosque where extremists killed more than 300 people in an unprecedented attack last week.

Grand Shaikh of Al Azhar Ahmad Al Tayyib led worshippers for the weekly Friday prayers that were aired live on Egyptian official and private television stations.

“The killers who shed the pure blood in one of God’s houses are transgressors and makers of mischief in the land,” the eminent cleric said following the prayers.

“The Prophet, may Allah’s prayer and peace be on him, ordered they be chased and killed. He promised whoever kills them with reward on the Day of Judgement,” Shaikh Al Tayyib added in the televised statement.

He called on Sinai people to back a relentless state campaign against terrorists there in order to “eliminate this cancerous tumour”.

Also attending the prayers were Egypt’s Mufti Shawqi Allam and Minister of Waqfs Mohammad Jumaa as well as Governor of North Sinai Abdul Fattah Harhur.

Dozens of worshippers were also shown praying outside the packed mosque in the village of Al Rawdah.

The mosque was quickly refurbished after the November 24 attack that left 310 people dead and dozens injured, according to official figures.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the assault, the deadliest in Egypt’s modern history. Prosecutors said that the attackers raised the black banner of Daesh terrorist group.

Egypt has experienced a wave of militant attacks, mainly against security forces and the country’s minority Christians since the army’s 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi following mass protests against his rule. Most of the attacks were claimed by Daesh.

Following the November 24 attack, President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, an ex-defence chief, vowed to use “brutal” force against terrorists and gave the army three months to secure Sinai, the target of most attacks.