At least 235 dead after an attack in Egypt's north Sinai targeted supporters of the security forces who were attending prayers at the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al Abed, west of Arish city.

FILE PHOTO: Egypt has been battling an insurgency in northern Sinai for years, mainly by militants from the Daesh affiliate called Sinai Province.
FILE PHOTO: Egypt has been battling an insurgency in northern Sinai for years, mainly by militants from the Daesh affiliate called Sinai Province. (Reuters)

At least 235 people were killed and more than 100 wounded when suspected militants targeted a mosque in Egypt's north Sinai with a bomb and gunfire, Egyptian state television reported, quoting the public prosecutor. 

Eyewitnesses reported ambulances ferrying casualties from the scene to nearby hospitals after the attack on Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al Abed, west of Arish city. 

Worshippers were finishing Friday prayers at the mosque when a bomb exploded, witnesses said. 

Around 40 gunmen set up positions outside the mosque with jeeps and opened fire from different directions as people tried to escape, witnesses said.

State media showed images of bloodied victims and bodies covered in blankets inside the mosque.

"They were shooting at people as they left the mosque," a local resident whose relatives were at the scene told Reuters. "They were shooting at the ambulances too."

President Abdel Fattah el Sisi convened an emergency security meeting soon after the attack, state television reported.

The government declared three days of mourning after the attack.

No group claimed responsibility for the assault but it was the deadliest yet.

Egypt's security forces are battling Daesh in northern Sinai, where militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers since fighting there intensified over the last three years.

Militants have mostly targeted security forces in their attacks, but have also tried to expand beyond the peninsula by hitting Egyptian Christian churches and pilgrims.

Source: Reuters