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NZ terror attack survivor: I was the last guy to come out of the mosque

  • Published at 02:43 pm March 16th, 2019
Web_NEWZEALAND-SHOOTOUT-Reuters
Grieving members of the public following a shooting at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 15, 2019 Reuters

By the time the shooting had stopped, at least 49 people were left dead

Ramzan Ali, one of the survivors of the terrorist attacks at two Christchurch mosques this Friday, managed to save his life by hiding under a bench when the shooter was firing indiscriminately.

Survivors scrambled for their lives, scaled fences and hid beneath benches as two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, came under terrorist attack from at least one heavily armed shooter.

Ramzan Ali said he was in one of the two mosques when the shooting began, reports ABC news. 

He said the Friday prayers had just begun when the shooting broke out. He hid under a bench and did not move until the gunfire stopped.

"I was the last guy to come out of the mosque after the shooting stopped. I saw bodies strewn all around the doorstep," Ali said.

By the time the shooting had stopped, at least 49 people were left dead. 

A total of 41 people were killed at the Al Noor mosque, while another seven were killed a few miles away at Linwood mosque. Another person died at Christchurch Hospital.

"I had never heard a gunshot, ever," 18-year-old Mulki Abdiwahab, another survivor, told TVNZ. 

She and her parents had gone to pray at the Al Noor mosque on Friday afternoon. 

"I thought at first it must have been somebody banging on the window.

"My mum grabbed my hand and then we just we ran outside," she said. "Everyone was in chaos, just running for their lives."

Police have not said whether the same shooter opened fire at both mosques. 

Three people were in custody, but only one - an Australian national - had been charged with murder.

"I heard what I thought was fireworks and I saw a bunch of fellas running down the street," a woman who was driving by the mosque told TVNZ. "Then all of a sudden it got violent, and they started falling. And one fell to left of my car and one fell to right."

Worshippers at the Al Noor mosque fled immediately after hearing the shots.

"After 3-4 minutes, we heard the gunshots coming from the main entrance of the building, and then everybody ran to the back to save themselves," said another survivor Mahmood Nassir. 

"First we hid behind the cars and you know, under the cars. ... We tried to jump over the fence."

Nassir continued: "When the firing stopped, I looked over the fence and saw a man go back to his car and put his gun inside and take out another one, and resumed shooting."

Christchurch Hospital said it had taken in 48 people injured by gunfire, including one who later died. 

The range of injuries ranged from minor to critical, a hospital spokesperson said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said earlier in the evening that 20 of the injured had what were considered "serious."