Paramedics attend to a wounded man after attackers entered a mosque in Verulam on Thursday [South African Police Services via AP]
Attackers entered a South African mosque after midday prayers, stabbed three people, and set the building on fire before fleeing.
One person was killed and two victims were in critical condition on Thursday after the mosque attack in the eastern town of Verulam, just north of the city of Durban, South Africa’s state broadcaster SABC reported.
Images showed men receiving medical care on the ground outside the mosque. One man’s white robe was soaked in blood.
“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, told AFP news agency.
Three attackers slit people’s throats, according to local media, citing an emergency responder, Reaction Unit South Africa.
A manhunt was under way for the assailants. Police Captain Nqobile Gwala in KwaZulu-Natal province told The Associated Press police are investigating three counts of attempted murder and arson.
“The motive of the attack on the three men is unknown at this stage,” Gwala said.
South Africa has not been a target of attacks such as this.
“Given the low baseline terrorism risk in South Africa, incidents of this nature are, on average and without further evidence, more likely to be linked to personal or communal grievances than acts of terror as we understand them,” said Nick Piper, a director at Signal Risk, an Africa-focused risk management firm, told AP.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies