The grand imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayyeb, has condemned the “barbaric attack” on a mosque in North Sinai on Friday which saw at least 235 worshippers killed.
Improvised explosive devices were detonated at Friday prayers at a mosque affiliated with Sufi groups in the town of Bir El-Abed, after which gunmen opened fire on worshippers, in what is believed to be one of the deadliest attacks on civilians in Egypt in recent years.
"The shedding of blood, the violation of the sacred houses of God and the terrorising of worshippers are acts of corruption on the earth," El-Tayyeb said.
El-Tayyeb said that the targeting of mosques has followed the targeting of churches, as if terorrists want to unify Egyptians in destruction and death, but they will be beaten and the unity and strength of Egyptians will prevail with their solidarity and determination.
El-Tayyeb stressed Al-Azhar's support, and the Egyptian people's support, for the efforts of Egypt's institutions, and the armed forces and the police forces, in eliminating “these terrorist gangs.”
"Al-Azhar is praying to God to accept those killed as martyrs, and provide strength to their families, and bless the injured with speed recovery," El-Tayyeb added.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in a speech that the military and police “will avenge our martyrs” and will respond “using brute force against those fragments of terrorists” in the coming period to ensure stability and security.