ISMAILIYA, Egypt — Terrorists attacked a mosque on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula during Friday prayers, killing at least 235 people, in an incident that has been condemned by both Pope Francis and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the Nov. 24 attack on al-Rawda Mosque in Bir al-Abed, located about 75 miles northeast of Ismailia.
The Holy See issued a statement indicating Pope Francis “was profoundly grieved to learn of the great loss of life” in the attack. “In expressing his solidarity with the Egyptian people … he commends the victims to the mercy of the Most High God and invokes divine blessings of consolation and peace upon their families.”
“In renewing his firm condemnation of this wanton act of brutality directed at innocent civilians gathered in prayer, His Holiness joins all people of goodwill in imploring that hearts hardened by hatred will learn to renounce the way of violence that leads to such great suffering and embrace the way of peace.”
In a USCCB statement, Cardinal DiNardo said: “I join with my brother bishops in unequivocally condemning the monstrous terrorist attack on innocent people at prayer in Egypt. Terrorist acts can never be justified in the name of God or any political ideology, and the fact this attack took place at a mosque, a place of worship, is especially offensive to God.”
The Church in the U.S. “mourns with the people of Egypt at this time of tragedy and assures them of our prayerful solidarity,” he added.
“We join with all those of goodwill in prayer that these acts of terror and mass killings — these acts of grave evil — will end and will be replaced with genuine and mutual respect for the dignity of each and every person.”
The mosque, associated with Sufis — followers of a form of Islamic mysticism — was bombed and hit with gunfire. Hundreds more were wounded in the attack.
The Sinai Peninsula has been the site of an Islamist insurgency since 2013, when the Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood.