“No to terror, only prayer houses,” thousands of students in North Sinai chanted in a spontaneous protest against the massacre Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of El Arish, the main city in North Sinai.
The students of Kafr al-Sheikh painted “no to terror” in Arabic.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed more than 305 people and wounded 128 more. But since 2013, Egyptian security forces have battled a stubborn Islamic State affiliate in the mainly desert region, and militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.
“This shows the national unity of the students who felt the terrible incident caused by the black terror, which does not distinguish between a Muslim and a Christian,” said Mustafa A-Zogabi, director-general of the Education Ministry in the Sinai. Terrorism has no homeland and no religion. We are all one man in the struggle against terrorism.”
Dozens of victims were burried Saturday. At the same time, residents of Al Rawdah village cleaned the remaining blood from the mosque and reopened its doors to worshippers as a message against terrorism. The mosque’s carpets were removed after the security forces collected evidence, and the villagers gathered together to clean the mosque and the road leading to it from the dried-up blood of the victims.
“We found things belonging to the murdered worshipers,” said one resident. “We have hoped that this Friday, we will pray again at the mosque.”
“They did not spare adults or children. The mosque was full, the bullets flew in every direction,” said Ahmad Salman, 48, an local who was praying in the mosque Friday. “My brothers and neighbors were murdered by the traitorous hands of terror.”
Salman, a construction worker, has suffered from fractures all over his body as a result of the attack. He was injured as he was fleeing, and eight of his relatives were murdered.
“I went to pray together with my aunt’s husband, and suddenly they attacked us from everywhere,” said high school student Eid Ahmad, with tears in his eyes from the trauma he underwent. “The worshipers outside and inside the mosque fell beside me, hundreds of dead and wounded, and I was also wounded, and the strange thing is that the infidels wanted to be martyrs, and they shouted Islamic slogans that they are far from.”
Suleiman Salim, an official in the local religious affairs ministry, said he fled to the city of Bir al-‘Abd from the terrorist groups in Sheikh Zweid, where “I lost 18 members of my family, including my eldest son, two brothers and their children and the rest of my cousins… We are certain that the army and police are chasing them.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed the weekly cabinet meeting on the murderous attack at Sinai last weekend. “On behalf of all the citizens of Israel, we send condolences to the Egyptian government, to the citizens of Egypt, for the criminal mass murder of civilians during prayer,” Netanyahu said. “The terrorism of radical Islam does not distinguish between religions or between peoples, and I think that the obvious thing is that all the countries of the world unite to fight it, everywhere, including in the Sinai.”