BRUSSELS, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- European leaders and officials have joined the international condemnations of Friday's terror attack on a mosque in North Sinai of Egypt that claimed at least 235 lives.
Militants attacked a mosque during Friday prayers in Egypt's North Sinai, detonating a bomb and gunning down worshippers in the deadliest ever attack on Egyptian civilians by Islamic extremists.
An explosive device planted outside the mosque near Arish city went off, before militants opened fire at the prayers, an official security source told Xinhua. The attack occurred in the village of Rawda in Beir el-Abad, 40 km from Arish, the source added.
European Council President Donald Tusk said in a tweet that he was "appalled by the attack on a mosque in North #Sinai. My thoughts are with Egypt and all those affected by this evil and cowardly act".
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he would like to offer most sincere condolences to the people of Egypt and to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
"I condemn in the strongest possible terms this barbaric and cowardly act deliberately targeting peaceful and innocent people in their place of worship," Juncker said in a statement.
"Europe stands beside you in solidarity just as you have stood with us in the past," he added.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also denounced the attack in a statement. "No one should be killed because of their religion, no sacred place should be profaned by violence and terrorism. People of all religions...are united in the fight against terrorist violence," Mogherini said.
"Perpetrators of such unbearable acts must be held responsible," she said, adding that the EU "will continue to stand with the Egyptian authorities and people as they confront the threat from terrorism".
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian denounced the attack "with the strongest possible term".
"France stands resolutely with Egypt in this latest ordeal. We will continue to stand together in the fight against terrorism and fanaticism," he said in a statement.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Germany was appalled by the massacre and it stands firmly by Egypt's side, according to German dpa news agency.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this perfidious terrorism, which once again has not even spared places of worship and peaceful people of faith from its brutal atrocities," Gabriel said in a statement.
Swiss President Doris Leuthard expressed that "her thoughts are with the victims and their families".
The Swiss foreign ministry said Switzerland condemned in the strongest terms this further heinous act in Egypt's North Sinai province, as well as all others which targeted this country.
In these tragic circumstances, Switzerland extends its deepest sympathy to the victims' families; and it hopes for a quick and full recovery for all those who were injured in the attack, the ministry said in a statement.
Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar tweeted that he was "deeply saddened by the horrific attack". "This is a terrorist attack that deserves all condemnation. My thoughts are with the victims and their close ones," he wrote.
"We strongly condemn this hideous attack ... Our thoughts are with all those affected. Solidarity and condolences to the Egyptian people," the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, the Slovenian Press Agency reported.