A regular columnist for the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper claimed that Israel was behind Friday’s terror attack in a mosque in Sinai in which 305 worshipers were killed.
Writing in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on Sunday, Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul blamed “The US, Israel, and their pawns” for the bomb and shooting attack on the Rawdah mosque in the town of Bir al-Abd, roughly 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the North Sinai capital of el-Arish. The column was translated by Palestinian Media Watch, a media monitoring group, on Monday.
“They do not want Egypt — the symbol of Arabness — to rise, recover, and restore to itself its leading pan-Arab role. The US, Israel, and their pawns know well that the resurrection of Egypt means the resurrection of all the peoples of the Arab nation, and therefore the colonial need dictates keeping Egypt in a state of political, security, economic, and social exhaustion,” al-Ghoul wrote.
Although there has not yet been any official claim of responsibility for the attack, authorities said that the terrorists who perpetrated the massacre were carrying flags of the Islamic State.
The attack is thought to have been carried out by the jihadist Islamic State or its affiliates, who have carried out a series of terrorist attacks in the Sinai, in part because the mosque is associated with followers of the mystical Sufi branch of Sunni Islam and IS targets any who do not follow its version of Islam.
The PA’s Al-Hayat Al-Jadida daily has often published accusations of Israel being responsible for terror attacks in the region, PMW noted. Following an attack in the Sinai last month in which six Egyptian soldiers were killed, the daily quoted a PLO official who said “the Zionist enemy” was responsible.
“Palestinian Liberation Front political bureau member Muhammad Al-Soudi said… that the crime that was committed against the heroic Egyptian army soldiers in northern Sinai is not unrelated to the phenomenon of terror in the region, which is sustained by the aggressive forces in the region and prime among them the Zionist enemy, which is focused on taking apart the Arab nation, its states, and its capabilities, and keeping it busy with disagreements that divert it from the struggle against [the Zionist enemy] and its aspirations in Palestine and the entire Arab region,” the paper wrote, according to the watchdog group.