Death toll now 305 in Egypt mosque massacre, including 27 children

(UK TELEGRAPH) — At least 27 children were among the 305 people killed during a terrorist rampage at a Sinai mosque on Friday, the Egyptian government said as it updated the grim toll of one of the bloodiest attacks since September 11th.

Egypt’s attorney general said that up to 30 gunmen had taken part in the slaughter and that they carried the black banners of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) as they gunned down worshippers during Friday prayers.

Relatives of the victims told The Telegraph that some households in the village of Rawda had lost every single male member of their family. “There is no one in the village who didn’t lose at least one of his relatives,” said Mohammed Sleem, a university student who lost two cousins. .

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but suspicion has fallen heavily on Isil’s Egyptian affiliate, known as Sinai Province, which has carried out deadly attacks against Egyptian troops and Christians in the area.

The Egyptian military carried out airstrikes in north Sinai in response to the killings but it was not clear if they were acting on specific intelligence or simply trying to make a show of force to reassure the public.

Investigators said Saturday they were still finding bodies in the toilets and other areas as they combed through the grounds of mosque.

The village of Rawda is home to around 2,500 people and with almost all of the men at the mosque for prayers nearly every home was in mourning on Saturday.

“Some women lost all their male family members,” said Abdel Qader Mubarak, a village elder. “One woman lost her husband and two sons, and another lost three of her sons. There is no home in Rawda without a martyr. At least 100 families have at least one martyr or at minimum a wounded person.”

Mr Mubarak was outside the village on Friday but relayed what happened from what he had heard from survivors.

“It was during the Friday sermon, where all men were inside the mosque. About 20-30 armed men surrounded the mosque from outside and some of them entered the mosque. They shut the door behind them. They started to open fire with machine guns and hand grenades. Some of them shot through the windows of the mosque. It was random shooting. Then they left and wandered in the village, whoever was found in the village was shot, then they returned back to the mosque, whoever was found still alive was shot again,” he said.