- Editor's note: The story below contains graphic images that may be upsetting to some readers. This is a developing story and information will be added as it becomes available.
JOHANNESBURG - One person has died after three men had their throats slit at the Old Main Road mosque in Verulam, north of Durban, on Thursday afternoon.
It is believed one of the victims is the moulana.
Video footage posted on social media showed paramedics attending to three bleeding men and police giving chase after suspects.
Attack at a Mosque in Verulam KZN. Building was also set on fire. Reports of fatalities and injuries.pic.twitter.com/xdWtaU0Wp3— EFF News (@EFF_News_) May 10, 2018
The KwaZulu-Natal South African Police Service (SAPS)'s Col Thembeka Mbhele confirmed the incident.
The Reaction Unit SA emergency service says the three are fighting for their lives after an attack by three Indian male suspects.
On arrival at the Imam Hussain Mosque, they found two victims bleeding profusely and the mosque on fire.
A third victim was found inside the building bleeding from a wound to his throat. A knife was reportedly lying next to him.
Reaction Unit SA said witnesses told them three men armed with knives and guns had attacked the mosque, attacking the victims, and setting the building alight.
The suspects, who were wearing half balaclavas, fled in a white Hyundai vehicle with no registration plates, the unit said.
The Ethekweni Fire Department was on the scene.
The SAPS says the motive for the attack is still unknown.
The police are calling on the public to come forward with any relevant information that can help them with their investigation by calling the Crime Stop number at 8600 10111.
Parliament has condemned the attack, calling the incident shocking.
In a statement, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman said: “A mosque is a religious institution, and South Africa’s Constitution guarantees and protects the right to religious practices.
"This kind of attack on three innocent people is totally unjustified. We want our communities to live in harmony, practicing their religions without fear.”
Beukman said everything should be done to arrest the perpetrators, and called on anyone with information to contact law enforcement agencies.
The Hawks are now investigating the incident.
A religious leader at the mosque has told eNCA that this is not the first attack of its kind on the mosque.