The president’s office issued a statement on Friday condemning three “indiscriminate” terrorist attacks that took place at a Shia mosque in Kuwait, in a Tunisian tourist resort town and in a factory in France, killing over 50 people collectively.
The presidency expressed condolences to the governments and people of the three countries and asserted that it stands firmly behind both “neighboring and friendly” nations in their efforts to eradicate terrorism and extremism, which it added “knows no borders or religion,” and targets symbols of human civilization, from mosques to services buildings.
A suicide bomber targeted Shia worshippers in the Kuwaiti capital on Friday, killing 25 people and injuring over 200 who had gathered at the Imam al-Sadeq mosque for prayers, according to the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry.
Reuters reported eyewitnesses said some 2,000 worshippers were kneeling for prayers when the explosion took place, damaging the walls and ceiling of the mosque, and leaving bodies strewn on the floor among the debris.
An Islamic State (IS) affiliated group “the Najd Province” claimed responsibility for the attack on social media, identifying the young bomber as Abu Suleiman al-Muwahed and describing the target as a “temple of rejectionist infidels,” a term the IS has frequently used to refer to Shia muslims. The Islamist group has claimed other recent attacks in neighbouring countries Saudi Arabia and Yemen, but this is the first attack on a Shia mosque in Kuwait.
Sunni-ruled Kuwait has a large Shia majority, whom the Islamic State considers heretics. On Tuesday, the Islamic State urged its followers to escalate attacks during Ramadan on Christians, Shia muslims and Sunni muslims that it perceives to be in coalition with the United States against them.
The Tunisian Interior Ministry announced on Friday that 27 people, mostly foreigners, were killed in the touristic city of Sousse. Officials told the BBC and other news outlets that one of the gunmen was shot dead in an exchange with security forces, while the other was still being pursued.
The country has been on high alert since an attack on the Bardo National Museum in the capital Tunis in March killed 22 people, including 17 tourists.
A third unrelated terrorist attack occurred on Friday in Lyon, France, in which a man was decapitated in a failed attempt to blow up an American-owned industrial chemical plant, according to French authorities. A suspect was apprehended and identified by the Interior Ministry as Yassin Salhi, who authorities said has ties to radical Salafists, the New York Times reported.
According to French President Francois hollande, who gave a televised speech following the incident, the attacker was in a vehicle and rammed into the factory at great speed with the intention to cause an explosion.
The statement from the Egyptian presidency against Friday’s attacks reiterated the need for an international coalition against terrorism, which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has frequently advocated.
This requires “bringing together the efforts of the international community to resist the ailment of terrorism, which targets stability and security in different parts of the world,” the statement read.
Sisi declared a war on terrorism in Egypt two years ago and has repeatedly asked for the support and collaboration of the international community. Terrorist activity has been on the rise since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
In March this year, Sisi announced that a 5.2 billion Euro arms deal between France and Egypt would be partially financed by a 3.2 billion Euro loan from the European nation. France’s defense minister reportedly said the deal is evidence of the mutual understanding and trust between the two nations, according to the state-owned Middle East News Agency.
Egypt-Kuwait relations improved after Morsi’s ouster, with Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia pledging millions of dollars in aid to help Egypt through its transitional period. Both Sisi, who visited Kuwait earlier this year, and his Kuwaiti counterpart have described the relationship between their respective governments as “brotherly” and strong.