Two killed in South Africa mosque attack

Police outside the mosque in Malmesbury, Western Cape
Police outside the mosque in Malmesbury, Western Cape

Two people have been stabbed to death in a "brutal" attack on a South African mosque where worshipers were preparing to pray.

The attacker, who was armed with "a big rambo knife", struck as people gathered in Malmesbury mosque, north of Cape Town, at about 03:00 local time (01:00 GMT) this morning, PC Henry Durant told South Africa's News24.

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"The suspect just got up and started stabbing the people," he explained.

PC Durant said the attacker, a foreign national in his 30s, "was not in a hurry - he was very calm".

However, when police arrived on the scene, he refused to hand over his weapon, police spokesman Lt Col André Traut said.

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"[He] charged at the police who tried to persuade him to hand himself over. He ignored the calls and tried to attack police," Lt Col Traut said.

"He was shot and killed in the process."

South Africa's Muslim Judicial Council said in a statement it was "shocked to its core to learn of a brutal attack", explaining the two victims had been observing I'tikaaf when they were killed.

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I'tikaaf prayers are held over the last 10 days of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Business24 explains.

The council said another man was injured.