An imam has died after armed men stormed a Shia mosque near Durban in South Africa, slitting the throats of two worshippers and the holy man before fleeing. The group arrived with guns and knives, an emergency service official said this afternoon. The three attackers escaped in a Hyundai car on the outskirts of the eastern port city.
The attack on the Shia centre in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal occurred at 14.39pm.
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.’
Paul Herbst, spokesman for the private IPSS medical rescue service, told AFP that the imam ‘who had his throat slit, passed away a few minutes ago due to his injuries.’
‘There were three people in the mosque – a caretaker, a worshipper and the imam and they were held up by three armed men,’ Herbst said after visiting the scene.