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Hawks find elements of ‘extremism’ in KZN mosque attack

KwaZulu-Natal Hawks spokesperson Simphiwe Mhlongo says the brutality of this case is one of a kind.

FILE: Police outside at the Imam Hussain Mosque near Verulam following an attack on the complex. Picture: Ziyanda Ngcobo/EWN

DURBAN - The Hawks say there are elements of "extremism" related to the attack on the Imam Husain Mosque in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal.

Eyewitnesses and Verulam residents have recalled the loud screams shortly before the attackers slit Abbas Essop's throat and stabbed Muhammad Ali who is receiving treatment for bowel evisceration.

Essop died on his way to hospital while Imam Ali Nchinyane has been discharged for his stab wounds.

Forensic pathologists are still combing the scene on Friday afternoon.

Anisa Khan, who worked with Essop at the car workshop across the road from the mosque, says the attackers clearly only had one intention.

“[They came] with the intention of killing in the house of God, at the end of the day he was human. He was 34 years old and he has two small girls.”

KwaZulu-Natal Hawks spokesperson Simphiwe Mhlongo says the brutality of this case is one of its kind.

“The Hawks are investigating a case of murder, two counts of attempted murder and arson.”

Meanwhile, as per Islamic burial rites, Essop will be buried later on Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has vehemently condemned the attack.

The MJC's Sheikh Isgaak Taliep has labelled the attack as senseless and goes against what Islam stands for.

“What we’re saying to our community and the broader South African community is for calm to remain. We’re very confident that SAPS [will do their job] and there is a need for the South African intelligence to come in, but that is what the government will determine.”

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