Hawks investigate 'elements of extremism' in Verulam mosque attack

2018-05-11 11:54
 IPSS Medical Rescue has attended a mass casualty incident at a mosque in Verulam.(Supplied by Rescue Care Paramedics)

IPSS Medical Rescue has attended a mass casualty incident at a mosque in Verulam.(Supplied by Rescue Care Paramedics)

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There are elements of extremism in the attack of a KwaZulu-Natal mosque where one man died and two others were seriously injured, the Hawks said on Friday.

KwaZulu-Natal Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo told News24 that the Hawks were leading the investigation following the attack at the Imam Hussain Mosque in Ottawa, Verulam, north of Durban on Thursday.

"There are elements of extremism that we have noticed. There is some sort of hatred pertaining to religion... hence we're saying there were elements of extremism," said Mhlongo.

He said the Hawks were investigating one count of murder, two of attempted murder and one count of assault.

READ: Attack on mosque described as a 'heinous' and 'senseless' crime

He said the deceased was Abbas Essop, who was in his late 20s.

"The two other people are in a critical condition in hospital," he said.

No arrests have been made.

Mhlongo added that the Hawks were working with the SAPS and local security companies to investigate the matter.

He urged anyone with information to contact their local police station.

Azad Seedat, the mosque's chairperson, told News24 on Thursday evening that he couldn't rule out the possibility that a terrorist group was behind the attack.

He confirmed that the mosque was attended by Shia Muslims and that its library had been petrol bombed during the attack.

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Read more on:    hawks  |  durban  |  religion  |  crime

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