Egyptian Chronicles: Egypt’s True Black Friday : North Sinai’s deadliest Mosque attack "+18"

Friday, November 24, 2017

Egypt’s True Black Friday : North Sinai’s deadliest Mosque attack "+18"

It is a true Black Friday in Egypt. It is black as it can be for real.
At least 235 people were killed while praying the Friday prayers in a Mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai in yet another shocking attack. I will summarize what we know so far as well clarify some points regarding that horrifying attack and I am sorry if I seem little emotional.
The victims inside the Mosque
Inside the mosque after the attack in the afternoon
Tens of victims "Sinai News"
According to Egypt’s Prosecutor General office , 235 worshipers have been killed and at least 109 others wee injured in an attack on Al-Rawdah Mosque in Al-Rawdah village , Bir Al-Abd city of North Sinai governorate.
According to local sources , there are more than 20 minors among then the dead.
The attack happened in Al-Rawdah village whose population is not more than 2500 people and yes they lost 10% of their men on Friday.
According to eye-witnesses that spoke with Ahram Online,improvised explosive devices were detonated at the mosque initially, then gunmen fired at worshippers, including targeting ambulances transferring the injured to hospital.
Other eye-witnesses that spoke AFP say that the gunmen entered the Mosque and closed its doors while the people were praying where they opened their fire letting no one to leave.
It is more than horrifying.
Here is a video clip after the break showing the scene inside the mosque from Sinai News Facebook page


According to Mohamed Abu Attiya , a Sinai-based-journalist Mohamed Abu Attiya told BBC Arabic Radio Service that the people of Al-Rawdah village received warnings for quite some time that Daesh-affiliated group could attack them and they even organized checkpoints to protect themselves.
The injured have been transferred to hospitals in North Sinai , Ismailia and Cairo governorates.

As soon as the news was known back to Cairo , President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held an urgent meeting with the ministers of defense and interior and the heads of military and general intelligence services.
Sisi addressed the nation in the evening vowing to avenge for those 235 victims using “brute force” {yes , he used the exact term in Arabic in one of the most unfortunate use of words in a speech}.
“We will see God will stand with which party” He said addressing the terrorists.
The Egyptian security forces declared a launch an operation against the assailants who are responsible for that horrifying massacre.  

The Egyptian Presidency declared national mourning for three days in the country. It is a wise decision to show that the state truly cares for the citizens.
It is worth to mention that in previous attacks like for instance the recent shootout of Al-Wahat , the state did not declare a national mourning for a single hour.
No group has claimed its responsibility so far for the attack.

The Rawdah Mosque and Sufism

The foreign media has been describing the attack on Friday as an attack on a Sufi Mosque in Egypt’s Sinai and the worshipers as Sufis
I am afraid this is far from accurate description.

We do not have in Islam something called “Sufi Mosque” in Egypt. Al-Rawdah Mosque was built indeed by one of the biggest Sufi orders in Sinai yet it is not Sufi Mosque , it has not even got a Shrine in it.
Al-Rawda Mosque
Al-Rawdah Mosque from outside "Ahram Online
Most Muslims who use the Mosque built by those Sufi Orders are not Sufi themselves but they choose to pray at those mosques for different reasons above them that they are near to them just like Al-Rawdah mosque which attracts worshipers in Bir Al-Abd because it is big.

Another thing , the attack happened during Friday’s prayer when the Mosque is fully packed.
Sufis are not prosecuted in Egypt.

Yes , Salafists hate them and yes some of their shrines were attacked in the past 5 years especially in 2013 but I cannot considered them a minority that suffer injustice even in rural areas like Christian Egyptians. On the contrary , Sufism is still one of the dominated religious currents in Egypt.

The usual suspects and Sufi connections

We got two primary suspects as usual when we speak about terrorist attacks in North Sinai : Daesh and Al-Qaeda-affiliated group.

Daesh’s North Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis “ABM” or “Sinai province” as it calls itself got a record with the Sufi shrines and sheikhs in the area.
ABM claimed in the past the destruction of at least two Sufi Shrines including one in 2014. It also kidnapped and slaughtered in cold bold in November 2016 Sinai’s oldest Sufi Sheikh Soliman El-Haraz for witchcraft.
The sick terrorist organization released a video for the slaughter of the 96-years old man. During then , it was said that Sheikh was kidnapped from his home South of Al-Arish.
According to what I have read earlier Friday , El-Haraz used to live in Al-Rawdah village which is a center of Sinai’s biggest Sufi order " Al-Gaririya" which built many of Sinai's Mosques.

Updated : It seems that Daesh spoke about the village of Al-Rawdah as a center for Sufism in an interview with one of their leading figures in North Sinai in their English-speaking magazine Rumiyah in January with photos showing the execution of Sheikh Soliman. “via @LalaKdaho”
A copy of the terrorists' interview
The photo of execution of late Sheikh Soliman in the sick
interview
That leader vowed to eradicate “Rawdah lodge”.
Rawdah in the sick interview
Targetting Rawdah in the sick interview
Al-Qaeda’s affiliated Jund Al-Islam had a comeback last month after two years of hibernation when it launched an operation against ABM.
Updated : Jund Al-Islam issued a statement online denouncing the attack and presenting its condolences to the families of the victims. It also warned the Egyptian government and the army of taking a chance and attacking them because of that attack.
I think it leaves one primary suspect then.

Egypt’s fatalist attack for real

It is the deadliest attack Egypt has ever seen by numbers. 
With a death toll of at least 235 on Friday only , El-Radwa Mosque attack comes ahead of horrifying past attack above them the Metrojet bombing or aka the Russian airliner bombing in October 2015 {224 fatalities}. I have been revising all the previous attacks and so far , this is unprecedented by all measures.
It is the fatalist attack in North Sinai since the start of insurgency in time of Mubarak in the same way.
It is the first attack of its kind to involve Muslim worshipers during Friday prayer in a Mosque.
This has not been done before as far as I can tell.

Unfortunately in times like this , I and others miss the valuable insights and views of Egyptian journalist and researcher Ismail Iskandrani who has been in a pre-trial detention for nearly two years on charges of joining the Muslim Brotherhood , a group which he despised publicly and officially. 

Please pray for Al-Radwa Mosque victims and their families , please pray for the people of North Sinai , please pray for Egypt.
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