As Anwar Alsaleh took cover at Christchurch’s Masjid Al Noor mosque, he rang emergency services pleading for help. He was in a small bathroom washing his hands before prayer when a gunman walked in, reports www.stuff.co.nz.
Alsaleh hid and tried to call the police several times while the shooting was happening, but couldn’t reach anyone. He got through to ambulance and told them: ’There’s a big massacre, please send help and call the police because they’re continuously shooting.’
He said he heard the gunman say: ’F…ing Muslims we’re going to kill you today.’
Injured people were heard begging people for their lives. ’They shot them until they died.’
Alsaleh said police arrived about 20 minutes after the shooting began. He was led from the building with his arms behind his head and saw several bodies, including those of women and children.
He described the actions of those involved as ’worse than terrorists’. They were cold-blooded killers.
Alsaleh moved to New Zealand from Palestine in 1996 and thought it was a safe place to live. He thanked the neighbours of the mosque for their support and said ’New Zealand people are nice. I have many friends here.’
A Jordanian man, who did not want to be named, said he moved to New Zealand seven years ago because it was a safe place to raise his children.
The man said he was in the mosque when the gunman opened fire. ’I heard … four big bangs I thought it was maybe fireworks because this [a shooting] never happens in New Zealand.’
He escaped out the back door and climbed over a wall when he saw people fleeing and realised what was happening.
At least one gunman killed 49 people and wounded more than 40 during Friday prayers at two New Zealand mosques in the country’s worst ever mass shooting, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned as terrorism.
A gunman broadcast livestream footage on Facebook of the attack on one mosque in the city of Christchurch, mirroring the carnage played out in video games, after publishing a ’manifesto’ in which he denounced immigrants, calling them ’invaders’.