Egypt on Saturday said an attack on a mosque by militants in the country's troubled region of northern Sinai has killed 305 worshipers, including 27 children, a dramatic increase in the death toll previously announced, which was 235. A statement by the country's chief prosecutor, Nabil Sadeq, said the attack Friday left another 128 people wounded, per the AP. It said the attackers, estimated at between 25 and 30, arrived at the mosque close to the small town of Bir al-Abd in five all-terrain vehicles and positioned themselves at the main door and the facility's 12 windows before opening fire. They also torched seven cars parked outside the mosque, which belonged to worshipers inside. Witnesses said some of the attackers were masked. Those who were not sported heavy beards and long hair. The militants wore camouflaged pants and black T-shirts.
The chief prosecutor's statement was the most detailed by authorities on the attack, the deadliest by Islamic extremists in Egypt's modern history. The account it gave generally agreed with what witnesses told the AP on Saturday in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, where some of the wounded are hospitalized. They spoke of horrific scenes during the approximately 20 minutes it took the militants to kill and maim worshipers, recalling how some jumped out of windows and children screamed in horror. "Everyone lay down on the floor and kept their heads down," said one witness. "If you raised your head you get shot." Friday's attack targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of a mystic movement within Islam. Islamic militants, including the local affiliate of the Islamic State group, consider Sufis heretics because of their less literal interpretations of the faith.