Saturday, November 25, 2017

Condemning Barbarity

"Israel strongly condemned the 'painful terror attack in Egypt' and sent 'the condolences of the Israeli people to [Egyptian] President [Abdel-Fattah] Sisi and to the Egyptian people,' in a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office."
"'There is no difference between terrorism harming Egypt and terrorism harming other countries. Terror will be beaten more quickly if all countries work against it together,' the PMO said in its statement."
The Jewish Press
A mosque seen at sunset near the border with Egypt from southern Gaza : The Jewish Press
"[The attack] will not go unpunished. [Egyptians would] derive hope and determination from such pain to triumph in the war against black terrorism."
"We will remain steadfast and will fight back with an iron fist. This attack will only add to our persistence on overcoming the tragedy and we will win the battle against the forces of evil."
"The army and police will avenge our martyrs and return security and stability with force in the coming short period."
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi

"This is a shift in the tactics of the terrorists."
"An attack on civilians at Friday prayers is not something we have been used to seeing."
Hossam El-Rifai, member of parliament, northern Sinai

"This represents the scary prospect that the list of targets they are willing to pursue is growing."
"It is hard to know, however,  if they were targeted because they were Sufis or because they were perceived to be collaborating with the government."
Timothy Kaldas, fellow, Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy

"The attack will, over the medium-term, damage el-Sissi's credibility as the figure that can protect Egypt, particularly if the security situation does not markedly improve."
"And it probably won't."
Hani Sabra, political risk analyst, Alef Advisory
Some of the casualties in Bir al-Abd, Egypt, in the country's North Sinai region on Friday. (EPA)

Witnesses to the well-planned and successfully carried-out slaughter of Egyptians living in northern Sinai praying inside the al Rawdah mosque in the area of el-Arish reported seeing the black flag of Islamic State among their attackers. This atrocity had all the hallmarks of Islamic State ferocity in manoeuvring victims toward certain death. Four off-road vehicles carried terrorists who opened fire on worshippers evacuating the mosque in panic after a bomb blasted the interior.

Care had been taken previous to the attack to block off escape routes when vehicles were blown up and the burning wrecks left to block the roads, making it impossible for victims to escape and difficult for rescuers to enter the area. As ambulances arrived they too came under deadly fire. Over three hundred people, an estimated 30 children among them, were slaughtered, and another hundred people injured in the flash firestorm.

Sufis, who practise a philosophical form of Islam instead of the more mainstream literal form, were the target, along with the many military and police who regularly attend the mosque. A committed branch of Islamic State in the Sinai has been responsible for deadly bombs targeting churches in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, killing Egyptian Coptic Christians. The deaths of 226 people from an explosive in the cargo of a Russian passenger jet in 2015 was also attributed to the Sinai Province terrorist group.

Taking its cue on publicizing its medieval era savagery the Sinai ISIL branch beheaded an elite Sufi religious figure, blind Sheikh Suleiman Abu Heraz a year ago, taping and posting photographs of the murderous event online. When the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammad Morsi was removed from the Egyptian presidency three years ago by a popular revolt led by the-then military's top general, now president of Egypt, the Sinai became a hotbed of violent revolt.

Salafist Bedouin, groups with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and al-Qaeda and then Islamic State all targeted Egyptian military and police quarters, killing hundreds of Egyptian police, army and politicians. Villages and desert outposts teem with insurgents threatening Egyptian security forces. And while the military has succeeded in ensuring that wholesale territory has not fallen to the terrorist groups, neither have they succeeded in bringing security to the region.

The Sinai, which since the handover to Egypt by Israel in its peace agreement, had become a source of badly needed investment and tourism in a faltering economy, has seen the  tourism industry once again decline resulting from incessant insecurity. When the Sinai Province group targeted the Russian plane flying tourists in the Sinai back to Russia it pronounced the death knell of Egyptian tourism as a thriving part of the nation's economy.

The shocking death toll of this latest bloody assault, considered the largest and most deadly yet suffered in Egypt at the hands of terrorist groups led condolences o pour into Egypt with messages of support from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Russia, France and Britain in condemnation of the unspeakable violation of humanity. Egypt's uneasy peace agreement with Israel mandates Israel's empathy, rarely reciprocated.

On the other hand, another nation in the Middle East saw the event as an opportunity for a bit of sanctimonious sectarian interpretation courtesy of a non-Arab, Muslim nation whose activities in the neighbourhood are held in suspicion as a promoter of instability regionally and terrorist attacks abroad, through a public relations display of absurd and sinister quasi-righteous sympathy:
"The ar-Rawdhah Mosque in Bir al-Abed, west of Arish city, was covered with blood and bodies – of the dead, the dying and the wounded survivors – as those fortunate to evade the bomb blast and the indiscriminate gunfire of the masked murderers shooting from four vehicles that almost surrounded the mosque, ran helter-skelter for their dear life."
"It seems this is what Egypt has to pay for its unwarranted coziness to Saudi Arabia, whose billions of dollars in aid, is not just holding the government of General Abdul-Fattah as-Sisi in ransom, but allowing Takfiri terrorists to spread their deadly tentacles in the predominantly Sunni Muslim country."
"We in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the prime victims of terrorism (sponsored by the US and the Salafis), strongly condemn this dastardly act by the Wahhabi-Zionist agents, and join our Egyptian brethren in their hour of grief."
Sheikh Ahmad at-Tayyeb, the head of al-Azhar, the famous Sunni Muslim seat of learning, who over a year ago had issued his famous verdict that the Wahhabis are not part of the Ahl as-Sunnah, denounced Friday’s massacre.
He said: "Shedding blood, desecrating houses of God and terrorizing worshippers are corrupt deeds, which must be struck hard and firmly.”

Kayhan International, Iranian News Service, "Iran Samaneh"

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