Three men armed with guns and knives slit the throats of three worshippers at a mosque near Durban in South Africa and a person was killed, an emergency services official said.
One victim jumped from a window of the building, set ablaze with smoke billowing, said Prem Balram, spokesman for private emergency service Reaction Unit SA, one of the first on the scene.
“One of the three died on the way to hospital. The other two are in critical condition,” said Balram, adding the suspects fled in a white car. “The suspects were Egyptian males. Local people here identified them.”
South African police said the motive of the attack at a mosque on the Old Main Road in Verulam the KwaZulu-Natal province was unknown and they were investigating.
Africa’s most industrialised country has a large expatriate community and attracts many tourists but has seldom been associated with Islamist militancy.
Balram said police cordoned off the scene of the attack.
“A knife was recovered at the scene, we believe it used in the crime,” KwaZulu-Natal police spokeswoman Captain Nqobile Ngwala said.
Police said in a statement three unknown men entered the mosque after the midday prayer and attacked three people.
The suspects set rooms in the mosque alight before fleeing, police said.
“The motive for the attack on the three men is unknown at this stage,” police said, adding no arrests have been made.