An unconfirmed report on Sky News Arabia Friday said Egyptian military forces destroyed two vehicles carrying terrorists involved in an attack on a mosque in northern Sinai, in which at least 235 people were killed.
An unnamed army source told the TV station that unmanned drones had attacked two cars in a desert area called al-Risha, killing 15 jihadists. He added that the hunt for other perpetrators was ongoing.
There was no official word from Egypt’s military on the matter.
Armed attackers killed at least 235 worshipers in a bomb and gun assault on the packed mosque, state media reported, the country’s deadliest attack in recent memory.
A bomb explosion ripped through the Rawda mosque frequented by Sufis roughly 40 kilometers west of the North Sinai capital of el-Arish, before gunmen opened fire on those gathered for weekly Friday prayers, officials said.
Witnesses said the assailants had surrounded the mosque with all-terrain vehicles then planted a bomb outside.
The gunmen then mowed down the panicked worshippers as they attempted to flee and used the congregants’ vehicles they had set alight to block routes to the mosque.
State television reported at least 235 people were killed and 109 wounded in the attack, the scale of which is unprecedented in a four-year insurgency by Islamist extremist groups.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The Islamic State group’s Egypt branch has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers, and also civilians accused of working with the authorities, in attacks in the north of the Sinai peninsula.
They have also targeted followers of the mystical Sufi branch of Sunni Islam as well as Christians.
A tribal leader and head of a Bedouin militia that fights IS told AFP that the mosque is known as a place of gathering for Sufis. The Islamic State group shares the puritan Salafi view of Sufis as heretics for seeking the intercession of saints.
The jihadists had previously kidnapped and beheaded an elderly Sufi leader, accusing him of practicing magic which Islam forbids, and abducted Sufi practitioners later released after “repenting.”
An IS propaganda outlet had published an interview earlier with the commander of its “morality police” in Sinai who said their “first priority was to combat the manifestations of polytheism including Sufism.”