The death toll from a bomb that went off outside a mosque in the city of Al-Arish in the northern Sinai Peninsula following Friday prayers has risen to 155, according to official sources.
“The number of people martyred in the Al-Arish terrorist incident has risen to 184 with another 125 injured,” Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency quoted unnamed security sources as saying.
The deadly blast reportedly occurred outside a mosque in the city’s Al-Rawda neighbourhood.
According to the same source, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi plans to hold an emergency meeting of the government’s Security Committee later this afternoon.
The meeting, the source added, will also be attended by the ministers of defence and interior and the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate.
In a press statement, North Sinai security officials said ambulances had rushed to the site of the blast, which has since been entirely cordoned off.
According to local security sources, who spoke anonymously due to the sensitivity of the issue, unidentified gunmen had opened fire on the area in the immediate wake of the bomb blast.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing.
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The Sinai Peninsula has been the epicenter of a low-intensity militant insurgency since mid-2013, when the army ousted and imprisoned Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, in a bloody military coup.
The insurgency has been largely confined to the northern Sinai Peninsula, but sporadic attacks have also occurred on the mainland, including capital Cairo.