Israeli leaders were quick to offer messages of support over the weekend, after at least 235 people were killed by terrorists at a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula during Friday prayers, in one of the deadliest attacks in the country in recent memory.
“My condolences to the families of the dozens of people murdered in the terror attack on a mosque in the Sinai,” Israeli Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz tweeted. “Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with Egypt and other countries in the region and the international arena in the war against radical Islamic terror.”
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that Friday’s “murderous terror attack is testimony to the fact that a new world order is being created around us, in which the distinction is between terror supporters like Iran and [Islamic State], and supporters of humanity.”
The terror attack occurred at the al-Rawdah mosque in the northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abed.
According to Egyptian media reports, terrorist shooters using all-terrain vehicles planted bombs outside of the mosque, then detonated them and opened heavy fire on worshippers as they attempted to flee. The terrorists also set the worshippers’ vehicles ablaze and used them to block escape routes.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared a nationwide three-day mourning period following the attack.
Despite ongoing efforts to secure the Sinai by the Egyptian military, with clandestine help from Israel, an Islamic State-affiliated terror group has waged an insurgency in the region—perpetrating a succession of deadly attacks on Egypt’s security forces and civilians, especially Christians.
Many experts and officials fear that given Islamic State’s recent loss of its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, the jihadist group will turn its attention to other lawless areas of the Middle East—including the Sinai—in a bid to bolster its terror network.