At least 235 people were killed and over hundred injured after terrorists launched a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in Egypt's North Sinai province, state media said.
The terrorists targeted al-Rawda mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed, near al-Arish, during the Friday prayers, the state-run MENA news agency reported.
The attackers blew up the mosque and started indiscriminate firing at the worshipers who tried to escape after the explosion.
About 50 ambulances were rushed to the attack site to shift the injured to hospitals.
No group has yet claimed the responsibility for the attack which is the deadliest single assault in Egypt.
Soon after the attack, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi called an emergency meeting and vowed to respond with “brutal force” against militants.
Terming the attack as “vile and treacherous”, al-Sisi said the incident would not pass without a decisive punishment.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the "barbaric terrorist attack" and extedned resolute support to the people as well as Government of Egypt.
"Strongly condemn the barbaric terrorist attack on a place of worship in Egypt. Our deep condolences at the loss of innocent lives. India resolutely supports the fight against all forms of terrorism and stands with the people as well as Government of Egypt," PM Modi tweeted.
Some locals said the followers of Sufism, or Islamic mysticism gathered at the mosque and so called Islamic state who consider them as heretics could be behind the deadly attack.
The attacks targeting police and military increased after the ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 by military following massive protests against his rule.
Over 700 security personnel have been reported killed since then.
The military has launched security campaigns in the area, arrested suspects and demolished houses that belonged to terrorists, including those facilitating tunnels leading to the Gaza Strip.
Egypt has witnessed a series of terror attacks this year claiming scores of lives.
On May 26, gunmen attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians in central Egypt, killing at least 28 people and wounding 25 others.
On April 9, two suicide bombings at Palm Sunday services at churches in the northern cities of Alexandria and Tanta left 46 people dead.
(With Inputs from PTI)