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.
Somalia, October 15, 2017 : Somalia’s president has declared three days of national mourning following a deadly truck bombing Saturday in the capital, Mogadishu, which left many people dead and dozens injured, including a VOA reporter.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo said the country “will observe three days of mourning for innocent victims and flags will be flown at half-mast.”
Farmaajo also called on citizens to unite against terror, saying it is “time to unite and pray together. Terror won’t win.”
Earlier Saturday, the blast occurred near Zobe, a busy intersection in Somalia’s capital, killing more than 50 people, health officials and witnesses said.
Mahad Salad Adan, a Somali lawmaker who sustained a slight wound from the blast, told VOA that more than 100 people, most of them civilians, were killed in the explosion. He said more 200 others were wounded as Mogadishu hospitals struggled to treat the wounded.
Abdulkaidr Mohamed Abdulle, a VOA Somali correspondent in Mogadishu, was among the injured. His wife, Samira Abdirahman Sheikh Adam, confirmed to VOA that he had sustained injuries to his neck, head and right hand.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but similar attacks have been carried out by the Islamic extremist group al Shabab. The group, which is linked to al-Qaida, is trying to overthrow the government in an effort to establish strict Islamic rule.
The United States and the United Nations strongly condemned Saturday’s blast and offered condolence to the lives lost and those wounded in the attack.
Buildings around the area were leveled by the explosion from a truck bomb, and dozens of destroyed cars littered the streets.
Health officials said Saturday’s bombing was the largest blast in recent memory in Mogadishu. They also called for residents to donate blood to help with the wounded.
“For 10 years, I have been in the emergency service. … I cannot tell the exact death toll, but together I can say we have transported hundreds of people on our 10 ambulances,” said Dr. Abdulkadir Abdirahman Adem, director of the Amin ambulance service. “And economically, I think this is the worst (bombing) ever in Mogadishu in a single day.”
Government soldiers had cordoned off the area, and officials said the death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers find bodies in the rubble.
Most of the victims were civilians. The exact target of the blast remains unclear, though there are several hotels frequented by government officials and members of various diaspora communities.
“This is a disaster. We ask all Somalis to reach us, to help us in the search of dead bodies under the debris. We appeal to the doctors, to those who have digging machines,” Mogadishu Mayor Tabid Abdi Mohamed said on government radio.
Saturday’s blast came hours after al-Shabab militants regained control of Barire, a strategic Somalian town in a farming area along the Shabelle river, 45 kilometers from Mogadishu.
The explosion also comes two days after Somalia’s defense minister and military chief, who were leading the fight against Islamist militants, both resigned from the government, citing personal reasons.
Some analysts believe militants tend to carry out such attacks when there are security lapses.
“The resignation of the country’s defense and military chiefs gave the militants a gab [opening] to carry out such disastrous attack,” said Mogadishu University’s Dr. Abdul Kadir Liban Isse. (VOA)
Masjid and Mandir should be avoided in as much as both denominations using loudspeakers tend to disturb the religious performances of each other
Masjid can be located in a Muslim dominated area at a reasonable distance from the most revered place of birth of Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram
The Shia Waqf board in its affidavit said that out of court settlement should be considered in order to end the dispute
New Delhi, August 9, 2017: Supreme Court will begin the hearing of a vital Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid dispute in a few days. The Uttar Pradesh Shia central waqf board (one of the parties in the litigation) is in favor of shifting the demolished mosque, away from Ayodhya site in order to put an end to the much controversial dispute.
The Shia board, trying to put to rest the 70-year legal battle, said that the mosque can be constructed away from the disputed Ayodhya site, a dramatic shift in stand by them. The Shia board also suggested something to amicably settle the dispute- A high-power judicial-political panel should be set up, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge. It also requested the court to appoint the committee having two retired Allahabad High Court judges, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, a nominee of the Prime Minister besides representatives of litigating parties.
The board, as per the affidavit filed and submitted to the apex court – The mosque can be relocated from the most revered place of birth of Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram to a nearby area which is Muslim dominated and this move will conclude the dispute on the 2.77 acres of land which houses a makeshift temple of Ram Lalla.
The Shia stand can however likely cause a conflict with the Sunni Waqf Board. While Sunnis make a majority of Muslims in India, the decision of a section of the community represented by the Shia waqf board is important. This is the 1st time that religious board has favored for the shifting of the mosque.
Taking a dig at Sunni Waqf board, Shia Board said in its affidavit that the Sunni Central Waqf Board should not get involved in exploring peaceful settlement of the dispute as “it is under the dominant control of hardliners, fanatics, and non-believer in peaceful coexistence, who have absolutely no stakes in the case”.
According to TOI report, the Shia board said (in an affidavit filed by advocate MC Dhingra), “It is of the view that closeness of place of worships— Masjid and Mandir, of the two litigating denominations, should be avoided in as much as both denominations using loudspeakers tend to disturb the religious performances of each other, often leading to conflicts, bringing bitterness between the two factions. The answering respondent is of the view that to bring peace to the situation, Masjid can be located in a Muslim dominated area at a reasonable distance from the most revered place of birth of Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram.”
Since 1945, Shia waqf board along with the Sunni waqf board have been fighting a legal battle claiming the ownership of Babri Masjid, the HC gave its verdict in favor of the Sunni Board when it divided the disputed plot three ways between the Board, Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara.
The Allahabad High Court order which came on September 30, 2010, but the verdict was immediately challenged by different parties before the apex court. Since then no progress has been made in the case and it’s pending from then. The apex court agreed to grant an early hearing and has posted the case to August 11, 2017.
The Shia Waqf board in its affidavit said that out of court settlement should be considered in order to end the dispute. It said, “Considering the Muslim tenets of living in peace and harmony and respecting the religious sentiments of other communities following different religions, in this case, Hindu Community, it is ready and willing to conclude the peaceful settlement of the dispute, which it fondly hopes will be acceptable to all the stake holders.”
– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08
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