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World Council of Churches condemns attack on Sufi mosque in Egypt; death toll rises

The World Council of Churches has condemned an attack on a Sufi mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai region, describing it as showing a “devastating disregard for human life”.

At least 305 people, including some 27 children, were killed and more than 100 others injured after at least two explosions occurred at the mosque located in Bir al-Abed, some 40 kilometres west of the provincial capital of el-Arish, before gunman opened fire as worshippers attending for prayer fled on Friday afternoon.

Egypt has responded with airstrikes that the government said had targeted vehicles used by the attackers. No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but experts say it bears the hallmark of a group affiliated with the so-called Islamic State whose flag was apparently raised during the incident.

In a statement, Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, said the attack like that on the mosque was “so painful to confront when people who are worshipping are targeted”. “We stand beside you, we walk with you and we will not allow this heinous act to divide us.”

In a letter written to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Egypt, Professor Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb, Rev Dr Tveit wrote that the WCC “condemn strongly this tragic attack against our Muslim brothers during prayer time, in a place of worship dedicated to peace and devotion”.

“We believe that evil cannot prevail over God’s light and goodness,” he wrote. “We appeal to President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, to religious leaders and to governments across the region to ensure security in the face of violence and to guarantee justice for all people.”



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