Reports indicated the attack involved at least one suicide bombing and heavy gunfire. Dozens of gunmen arrived in off-road vehicles and bombed the packed mosque before opening fire on worshippers as they tried to flee. The assailants have set parked vehicles on fire in the vicinity to block off access to the mosque. They were shooting at the ambulances too. Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, is regularly gathered at the mosque. Some jihadist groups, including so-called Islamic State (IS), see Sufis as heretics.
Inside the attacked mosque
No group has claimed responsibility for the assault. “They were shooting at people as they left the mosque,” a local resident whose relatives were at the scene said. Egypt’s Government declared three days of mourning after the attack and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi convened an emergency security meeting. After talks with security officials, he vowed to respond with “brute force.” Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit condemned the attack as a “terrifying crime which again shows that Islam is innocent of those who follow extremist terrorist ideology”. The U.S., U.K., France and other countries condemned the attack.