Cape town, June 14, 2018 – A suspected Somali hast stabbed two worshippers to death and wounded two others in an attack at a mosque in South Africa on Thursday, before being shot dead by police, officers said. Although local media said the suspect was Somali the police have not confirmed yet.
Police said a man entered the building during morning prayers and attacked the worshippers with a knife then an officer responding to the incident shot and killed the suspect. Three other people including a police officer were injured.
The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), which represents the Muslim community in South Africa, said it was “shocked to the core” over the incident, which came at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
“The suspect, believed to be in his thirties and armed with a knife, was still on the scene and charged at the police who tried to persuade him to hand himself over. “He ignored the calls and tried to attack police then he was shot and killed in the process,” said Traut.
‘Way too soon to speculate’
The MJC appealed to the community to not jump to conclusions about the attacker’s motives and said its top leadership would travel to the area to assist the community.
It comes just a month after a deadly stabbing at another South African mosque. Three unidentified assailants killed a Mosque leader on May 10 by slitting his throat and injured two others after midday prayers.
The assailants in that attack, who also set off a petrol bomb inside the mosque, escaped in a car and remain at large.
Their motive remains unclear, but a police spokesman said at the time that the attack had “elements of extremism. It shows hatred towards the worshippers”.
The country prides itself on religious tolerance and has been spared the extremist attacks that have dogged other countries on the African continent.
Neighbouring Mozambique has been rocked by a wave of attacks blamed on jihadists in recent months.
Since October around 30 people have been killed with knives and machetes in the country’s far north, a region that has been earmarked as a potential hub for natural gas exploration.