Imam killed in South Africa mosque attack

Imam killed in South Africa mosque attack
Attackers armed with guns and knives struck a mosque outside the South African city of Durban on Thursday and stabbed and imam to death.
2 min read
The attack happened just days before the holy month of Ramadan [Getty]

Attackers armed with guns and knives struck a mosque outside the South African city of Durban on Thursday, stabbing to death an imam and seriously injuring two others, according to medical services.

"The imam, who had his throat slit, has passed away a few minutes ago due to his injuries," Paul Herbst, spokesman for the private IPSS medical rescue service said.

The mosque came under attack at 2:39pm on Thursday according to News 24

Two other victims remain in a critical condition.

The Imam Hussain Mosque in Ottawa - a Shia mosque - was also set alight, according to Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA), a private security company. The attack comes days before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Prem Balram, spokesman for RUSA, said he had arrived at the mosque to find two victims covered in blood lying in the forecourt of the mosque.

He said a third victim had been attacked inside the building, which was then set alight, and had jumped out of a window.

"Eyewitnesses said three attackers with guns had used knives. One knife was left behind," Balram told said.

"There have been theft and robbery incidents at mosques before, but not like this, when nothing appears to have been taken."

Police said the men entered the large mosque after midday prayers and stabbed three people.

"They further set certain rooms alight and fled in their getaway vehicle," police spokeswoman Nqobile Gwala said in a statement.

"The motive of the attack on the three men is unknown at this stage. Verulam police are investigating three counts of attempted murder and arson."

A video of the aftermath, which showed a number of people on the floor in pools of blood, has since been circulated.

The attackers are said to be three Egyptian nationals, according to South African media reports.