CAIRO – A group of Egyptian journalists gathered on Monday for a silent vigil to honor the victims of last week’s attack on a mosque in the Sinai Peninsula that killed more than 300 people.
Despite a ban on public demonstrations, more than a dozen people congregated outside the offices of the journalists union in Cairo amid a large police presence.
Participants, holding candles and Egyptian flags, condemned the attack as contrary to the teachings of all religions.
Last Friday’s assault on al-Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abd, 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the North Sinai capital of el-Arish, left 305 people dead – including 27 children – and 128 others wounded.
As many as 30 assailants, one of them carrying an Islamic State banner, surrounded the mosque and opened fire on worshippers from the windows and door before entering the sanctuary to continue the slaughter, according to Egypt’s public prosecutor.
Witnesses said the perpetrators fled before security forces could reach the scene of the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s recent history.
Several militant groups are active in that area of Sinai, including Al-Wilayat Sinai, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State and has claimed responsibility for the recent attacks.
The al-Rawdah mosque is attended by adherents of the current of Islam known as Sufism, which some fundamentalist Sunnis regard as heretical.