Egyptian warplanes launched revenge raids on suspected jihadist positions in the Sinai peninsula last night after the country’s worst terrorist attack of recent years killed at least 305 people, including 27 children, observing Friday prayers in a mosque.
It was one of the world’s worst attacks since the 9/11 atrocities in the US 16 years ago.
A total of 128 people were wounded in Friday’s assault, believed to have been carried out by Islamic State-linked insurgents.
A bomb exploded in the al Rawdah mosque in Bir al Abed, North Sinai, and then dozens of militants sprayed bullets into the crowds of people who ran outside to escape.
The gunmen were carrying IS flags, Nabil Sadeq, Egypt’s chief prosecutor said in a statement.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said the attack “will not go unpunished” and vowed to “respond with brutal force.”
“The army and police will avenge our martyrs and return security and stability with force in the coming short period,” he said in a televised speech.
Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar, Egypt’s highest institution of Sunni Islam, condemned “in the strongest terms this barbaric terrorist attack”.
On Saturday morning the military said it carried out airstrikes in Sinai which hit several vehicles used in the attack and “terrorist” locations where weapons and ammunition were stocked, an army spokesman said.
Revealing more about the mosque attack, Mr Sadeq said there were between 25 and 30 gunmen who arrived at the mosque in five all-terrain vehicles.
The militants positioned themselves at the mosque’s main door and 12 windows before opening fire on worshippers inside, he added.
The British Journal Editors and Wire Services