President Donald Trump spoke out forcefully against a terror attack on a Mosque in Egypt on Friday.
At least 230 people were killed when terrorists detonated a bomb and gunned down worshippers in the North Sinai region.
“Horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshipers in Egypt,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!,” he wrote.
Horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshipers in Egypt. The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2017
Since coming to office in January, Trump has taken a strong stance against extremists and terrorism.
In response to the most recent terror attack on U.S. soil, in New York on Oct. 31, Trump said that: “We’re so politically correct that we’re afraid to do anything.”
“We have to get tough, we have to get smart, we have to do what’s right to protect our citizens,” he said on Nov. 1.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, in a statement following the attack in Egypt, called on the international community to strengthen its efforts to defeat terrorist groups.
“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,” she said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Egypt, but since 2013 security forces there have battled a stubborn ISIS affiliate in the mainly-desert region of Sinai. The militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.
Worshippers were finishing Friday prayers at the mosque when a bomb exploded, witnesses said. Around 40 gunmen set up positions outside the mosque with jeeps and opened fire from different directions as people tried to escape.
State media showed images of bloodied victims and bodies covered in blankets inside the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of El Arish, the main city in North Sinai.
The public prosecutors’ office said in a statement that 235 people had been killed and 109 more wounded.
Hours after the attack, Egypt’s military launched air strikes on targets in mountainous areas around Bir al-Abed, security sources and witnesses said.
“What is happening is an attempt to stop us from our efforts in the fight against terrorism, to destroy our efforts to stop the terrible criminal plan that aims to destroy what is left of our region,” Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said.
Arabiya news channel and some local sources said some of the worshippers were Sufis, who groups such as ISIS consider targets because they revere saints and shrines, which for Islamists is tantamount to idolatry.
The jihadists have also attacked local tribes and their militias, branding them traitors for working with the army and police.
The Sinai branch is one of ISIS’s surviving arms following the collapse of its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq after military defeats by U.S.-backed forces.
Sisi, a former armed forces commander who presents himself as a bulwark against Islamic terrorism, convened an emergency meeting with hisdefensee and interior ministers and intelligence chief soon after the attack.
Security has long been one of the key sources of public support for the former general, who is expected to run for re-election for another four-year term early next year.
Reuters contributed to this report
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