CAIRO – Militants detonated a bomb inside a crowded mosque in Egypt’s north Sinai on Friday and then sprayed gunfire on panicked worshipers as they fled the building, killing at least 235 people and wounding at least 109 others, the Mena news agency reported.
Officials called it the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history.
More than 50 ambulances ferried casualties from the scene to nearby hospitals after the attack on al-Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of Arish city. The death toll rose repeatedly on Friday afternoon as more details emerged.
Local police said men in four off-road vehicles opened fire on worshippers, AP reported.
Egypt has been fighting an Islamist insurgency in the region, which has intensified since 2013.
There have been regular attacks blamed on militants on the Sinai peninsula, but this is the deadliest assault of its kind.
President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is to meet security officials to discuss the incident, Egypt’s private Extra News TV reported.
It is not yet known who was behind Friday’s attack.