Egyptian security officials, quoted by state-run media, say 235 people have been killed by suspected militants in an attack on a packed mosque Friday in the volatile northern Sinai Peninsula. Frightened residents fled the center of the town of Bir al Abed, after Islamic militants fired on people both inside and outside the Rawda mosque. Scores of bodies were strewn across the mosque's carpeted floor.
A man claiming to have been inside the mosque during the attack told Arab media that militants in four-wheel drive vehicles opened fire inside the house of worship following an explosion. Eyewitnesses also say the militants fired on ambulances as emergency personnel tried to evacuate the wounded to hospitals in nearby Arish. Egyptian media reported that several government targets also were attacked inside the town.