Israel has said that it would “lend a hand” to Egypt to fight terrorists and leaders from across the political spectrum have sent condolences to Egypt after 305 people were killed in an attack by a group likely affiliated with the terrorist organization Islamic State on a Sufi mosque in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday.
Between 25 and 30 armed men carried out the assault on the crowded al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed during prayers, settling off explosives and spraying worshippers with gunfire, in the deadliest ever attack on Egyptian civilians by Islamic extremists. Sufi Muslims practice a mystical form of Islam for which they are branded heretics.
“The Israeli defense establishment expressed its sympathies and, as always, is willing to lend a hand to any country in order to help fight terror,” an Israeli security official told The Times of Israel on Sunday. He added, “That’s how it was in this case, and how it will also be in the future.”
The Prime Minister’s Office condemned the attack in a statement on Saturday and wished a speedy recovery to those wounded in the “horrific and criminal terrorist attack,” adding that “terrorism will be defeated more quickly if all countries act against it together.”
Naftali Bennett, Israel’s education minister, said a new world order is being created in which “the distinction is between terrorism supporters like Iran and ISIS and supporters of humanity.” Bennett called for an international response to the threat, saying, “we have all been hurt by terror.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein reached out to Egypt’s ambassador, Hazem Khairat, and asked him to convey Israel’s solidarity with the Egyptian people during these difficult times.
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid wrote on Twitter, “We must all stand together in the fight against this indescribable evil.” Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog wrote in Arabic on social media: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Egypt.”
In another show of solidarity, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai ordered the city’s municipality building in Rabin Square to be lit up with the Egyptian flag. “A horrific attack in Egypt. We send our condolences to our friends across the border and light the Municipality building in their honor,” he wrote on Twitter.
— Mayor of Tel Aviv (@MayorOfTelAviv) November 24, 2017
In a televised statement on Friday evening, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said that the attack “will not go unpunished” and vowed to “respond with brutal force.” He also said Egypt would carry on with its war on terrorism.
President Donald Trump denounced what he called a “horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshippers in Egypt.” He said on Twitter: “The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!”
The Egyptian presidency has declared three days of national mourning.