Trump on Egyptian mosque attack: 'The world cannot tolerate terrorism'

Trump on Egyptian mosque attack: 'The world cannot tolerate terrorism'
© Camille Fine

President Trump responded to an apparent terror attack that left over 200 people dead in Egypt on Friday morning, calling it a “horrible and cowardly” attack on “innocent and defenseless worshipers.”

“The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!” he tweeted.

Reports say that at least 200 people were killed in a bombing and shooting attack at a mosque in the northern Sinai Peninsula in what is believed to be the latest attack by the area’s local ISIS affiliate.

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There has been no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack is thought to be one of the deadliest assaults on civilians in the course of an ongoing insurgency by the Islamic State affiliate against the government of President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi.

"There can be no tolerance for barbaric groups that claim to act in the name of a faith but attack houses of worship and murder the innocent and defenseless while at prayer," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that followed Trump's tweet. "The international community must continue to strengthen its efforts to defeat terrorist groups that threaten the United States and our partners and we must collectively discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence."

Militants in four off-road vehicles bombed the mosque during the sermon segment of the prayers, then gunned down fleeing worshippers, according to state officials.

The attack on al-Rawdah mosque, which is largely attended by Sufi Muslims, occurred during Friday prayers. Approximately 130 were also wounded in the attack, police officers told the Associated Press.

Details on the motive and number of attackers remain unclear. The ISIS affiliate suspected in the attack, Wilayat Sinai, have increasingly targeted Sufi Muslims, considered heretics by the Islamic State.

Wilayat Sinai has repeatedly launched attacks on Egyptian security personnel in the wake of the 2013 military coup that toppled Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president.

“We will continue to stand with Egypt and the Egyptian people as they face the scourge of terrorism,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a separate statement.

-Updated at 12:52 p.m.