Two people are fighting for their lives following a South Africa mosque attack in which the imam was killed in the town of Verulam, north of Durban.
Reports indicate that three Egyptian nationals attacked people with knives and set fire to the mosque on Old Main Road in Ottawa.
Police have launched a manhunt for the suspects.
Reaction Unit South Africa’s Spokesperson, Prem Balram says, “There were two injured victims in the forecourt in front of the mosque. One was bleeding profusely from a slit through his neck.”
Balram says the victim’s jugular vein was severed.
“Paramedics were called immediately to the scene. Whilst they were attending to these victims, we noticed the building was on fire. We made an attempt to put out the fire and we noticed from the 2nd floor of the mosque, a third victim had jumped to the ground. He was also covered in blood and his throat was also slit. We then got him medical attention. The three were rushed off to local hospitals and one passed on a short while later.
The other two are in a critical condition and are fighting for their lives,” says Balram
South African police are hunting for the three attackers.
The attack on the mosque on Thursday in Verulam, a town 27km north of Durban, left the Muslim community outraged and demanding answers.
Major Bheki Langa, KwaZulu-Natal province’s acting police commissioner, said in a statement the motive was still unclear. The assailants also set the mosque on fire before escaping in a getaway vehicle.
“Such criminality cannot be tolerated. A team of investigators has been dispatched to solve the case and bring perpetrators to book,” Langa said.
Mosque attacks rare
The Muslim Judicial Council denounced the bloodshed and said the core of Islamic teachings and principles are “respect for all human beings”.
Attacks on mosques are extremely rare, but observers note anti-Shia rhetoric has been on the rise over the past few years, especially on social media.
Sources: SABC and Al Jazeera