More details on victims of terrorist attack in New Zealand


Published: 2019-03-17 15:05

Last Updated: 2024-04-15 23:21

More details on victims of terrorist attack in New Zealand
More details on victims of terrorist attack in New Zealand

The New Zealand Herald daily newspaper published on Sunday, March 17, 2019, more details about the victims of Friday's terrorist attack targeting two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

The martyrs:

Sayyad Milne, 14 

Sayyad's father, John Milne, spoke through tears of his "brave little soldier", who died at the Al Noor Mosque.

The 10th grade Cashmere High School student was at the mosque with his mother and friends, as he is used to attending every Friday sermon.

"I've lost my little boy, he's just turned 14. I haven't heard officially yet that he's actually passed but I know he has because he was seen, Milne said.

"[I'm] keeping it together and tears are helping. People are helping. Just by being here, it is helping."

Milne said he was told that Sayyad, a keen footballer, was lying on the floor in the mosque, bleeding from the lower parts of his body.

"I remember him as my baby who I nearly lost when he was born. Such a struggle he's had throughout all his life. He's been unfairly treated but he's risen above that and he's very brave."

"A brave little soldier. It's so hard ... to see him just gunned down by someone who didn't care about anyone or anything. I know where he is. I know he's at peace."

The principal of Cashmere High was going to visit the family soon.

"The community is shattered," Milne said. "The Muslim community just don't know what to do, where to go, what's happened. They're finding it very hard to accept but there is so much support from so many different people, people who aren't Muslim. Support across the board.

"But we are the most beautiful city rising out of the dust. We will go forward. This won't bring us down. It will make us even stronger. United we stand, divided we fall ... the city is going to be a symbol of what it can do after it has been hit and hit and hit."

Milne's other son usually went to the mosque but had been on a school trip. His twin sister was at school when the attacks happened.

Sayyad Milne

Hussain Al-Umari, 36-year-old

Al-Umari's mother wrote on social media that her son was killed.

His family and friends had been seeking information after al-Umari failed to return after going to Friday prayers at the Al Noor Mosque

His mother, an Iraqi calligraphy artist named Janna Ezzat, wrote on Facebook that her son had become a martyr.

"Our son was full of life and always put the needs of others in front of his own."

Mucad Ibrahim, 3 

Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim is thought to be the youngest victim.

The toddler had gone to the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Ave with his older brother, Abdi, and his father.

Mucad was lost in the melee, as Abdi fled for his life and his father pretended to be dead after being shot.

The family searched in vain for the toddler at Christchurch Hospital and later posted a photo of Mucad, smiling with Abdi, along with the caption: "Verily we belong to God and to Him we shall return. Will miss you dearly brother."

Abdi Ibrahim described his little brother as "energetic" and "playful" and said he "liked to smile and laugh a lot". He confessed he felt nothing but "hatred" for his brother's killer.

Mucad Ibrahim

Tariq Omar, 24

Omar's father confirmed his death. According to CNN, Rosemary Omar dropped her son off at the mosque then drove round the back to find a parking space when she heard multiple gunshots. She drove back to the front and saw "lots of bodies outside".

Abdullahi Dirie, 4

Four of Adan Ibrahin Dirie's five children managed to escape, but the youngest, Abdullahi, was killed, said his uncle, Abdulrahman Hashi, 60, a preacher at Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Minneapolis.

Adan Dirie also suffered gunshot wounds and was hospitalised.

The family fled Somalia in the mid-1990s as refugees and resettled in New Zealand.

"You cannot imagine how I feel," Hashi said. "[Abdullahi] was the youngest in the family. This is a problem of extremism. Some people think the Muslims in their country are part of that, but these are innocent people."

Nine deaths confirmed by Pakistani government

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the death of nine citizens.

Spokesman Dr Mohamed Faisal said the deaths of Sohail Shahid, Syed Jahandad Ali, Syed Areeb Ahmed, Haroon Mahmood, Naeem Rashid and his son Talha, Zeeshan Raza, his father Ghulam Hussain and mother Karam Bibi were confirmed by New Zealand authorities.

Three other Pakistan-born people missing after the attack were still being identified, he said.

Faisal said Pakistan was proud of Mian Naeem Rashid "who was martyred trying to tackle the White Supremacist terrorist & his courage will be recognized with a national award".

Syed Areeb Ahmed

moved from Karachi for a job in New Zealand 18 months ago to help support his family back home. One of his uncles, Muhammad Muzaffar Khan, described Ahmed, 27, as deeply religious, praying five times a day.

Education was always his first priority, Khan said.

"He had done chartered accountancy from Pakistan. He was the only son to his parents. He had only one younger sister ... He had only started his career."

Family members, relatives, and friends have gathered at Ahmed's house, where his body is expected to arrive in the coming days.

The family was told Ahmed and a friend had arrived at the mosque just before the shooting began. His friend survived because he was parking the car.

Naeem Rashid

died at Christchurch Hospital after trying to wrestle a gun from the shooter at the Al Noor Mosque.

Originally from Abbottabad, where he worked in a bank, the 50-year-old became a teacher after moving to Christchurch.

His brother-in-law Dr Khursheed Alam confirmed to ARY News that the pair had been killed in the attack.

Alam told the BBC he was proud of Naeem Rashid's bravery.

"I've heard from a few people there, there were few witnesses … they've said he saved a few lives there by trying to stop that guy. It's a still a shock for us, whatever hero he becomes … it's our pride now, but still the loss. It's like cutting your limb off."

Naeem Rashid

Talha Rashid, 21

Talha was Naeem Rashid's oldest son. Aged 11 when the family moved to New Zealand, he had got a new job and was hoping to get married soon, the BBC reported.

"A few days ago when I spoke to Naeem, he told me about his plans to come to Pakistan and get his son married," said Talha Rashid's uncle in Lahore.

"But now we are making arrangements to bring the dead bodies of both father and son back to Pakistan."

Another of Naeem Rashid's sons is being treated for his injuries.

Haroon Mahmood, 40

Haroon left a wife and two children, aged 13 and 11.

Since completing his doctorate, Mahmood had been working as assistant academic director of Canterbury College, a private school for English language and business students.

He earned master's degrees in finance from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology in Pakistan and then worked in banking in Pakistan, according to his LinkedIn profile.

A tutor in economics and statistics at Lincoln University from 2014-16, he also lectured in business at Linguis International in Christchurch from 2014 until April 2017, and joined Canterbury College in May 2017.

Haroon Mahmood

Khaled Mustafa and son Hamza, 16

Khaled Mustafa and his family thought they had found safety in New Zealand after fleeing the bloody chaos of Syria only a few months ago.

But he became a victim of hatred when he was shot while praying with his two sons,

Hamza is missing feared dead and Zaid, 13, is recovering from a six-hour operation on his wounds at Christchurch Hospital.

Ali Akil, a spokesman for Syrian Solidarity New Zealand, said Mustafa's wife and daughter, who were not at the mosque on Friday, were in "total shock, devastation, and horror".

"They survived atrocities and arrived here in a safe haven only to be killed in the most atrocious way.

"They were just looking for a safe place. Unfortunately, we can't claim that New Zealand is a safe place anymore."

Khaled Mustafa

Atta Elayyan, 33

The goalkeeper for the national and Canterbury men's futsal teams was shot as he prayed.

Born in Kuwait, he recently became a father and was a popular member of the Christchurch tech industry. He was a director and shareholder of a company called LWA Solutions.

Friend Kyle Wisnewski paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "My Heart is broken, a role model to myself and so many in the futsal community, a loving KIWI father, husband, friend and futsal player. You won't ever meet a more down to earth, humbling person. May you Rest In Peace, my friend."

Atta Elayyan

Five Indian citizens martyrs 

India's ambassador to New Zealand issued the following names of Indian citizens who were killed in the mosque attacks: Maheboob Khokhar, Ramiz Vora, Asif Vora, Ansi Alibava and Ozair Kadir.

Ansi Alibava, 25

Osama Adnan, 37

Adnan was of Palestinian origin and in the process of applying for New Zealand citizenship. He had previously lived in Egypt.

Osama Adnan

12-year-old boy

Heba Sami, whose father was shot and injured protecting his children, told Gulf News that she lost five family friends, including a 12-year-old boy, in the attack.

Husna Ahmed, 45

Farid Ahmed refuses to turn his back on his adopted home, despite losing his 45-year-old wife, Husna Ahmed, in the Al Noor Mosque attack.

They had split up to go to the bathroom when it happened.

The gunman livestreamed the massacre on the internet, and Ahmed later saw a video of his wife being shot. A police officer confirmed she died.

Despite the horror, Ahmed — originally from Bangladesh — still considers New Zealand a great country.

"I believe that some people, purposely, they are trying to break down the harmony we have in New Zealand with the diversity. But they are not going to win. They are not going to win. We will be harmonious."

Husna Ahmed

Mohammad Imran Kahn, 47

Kahn owned two restaurants in Christchurch.

Outside one of them, the Indian Grill, yesterday, a handwritten cardboard sign said simply CLOSED. A handful of pink flowers were laid nearby.

The owner of the shop next door, Jaiman Patel, 31, said he helped the staff with keys after the terrorist attack that claimed Khan's life.

"He's a really good guy. I tried to help him out with the setup and everything," Patel said.
Khan had a son who was 10 or 11, Patel said.

"We are helping each other. It's so sad."

Amjad Hamid, 57

Originally from Palestine, Hamid hasn't been since Friday and his family believes the heart doctor is dead.

His wife, Hanan Hamid, said she and her husband migrated to Christchurch 23 years ago.

"It's terrible ... we were hoping to find a better future for us and for the children we were planning to have."

She described the 57-year-old as a "very kind man", but struggled to say more.

"It's hard to talk about him."

The oldest of the couple's two sons, 22-year-old Husam Hamid, said family had checked hospitals and with police but there had been no sign of his dad since the shootings.

"We are presuming that he is dead, but we don't know."

According to his LinkedIn profile, Hamid was a consultant in cardiorespiratory integrated specialist services at Canterbury District Health Board for 20 years. His son said he had recently taken up a role in cardiology at Hawera Hospital in south Taranaki.

"This is meant to be a safe country. New Zealand is changing forever."

His mother was "struggling", he said.

"My mum, she loves him so much."

Youngest son, Mohammed Hamid, 20, said he wanted to say only one thing: "I just really loved my dad."

Amjad Hamid

Junaid Mortara, 35

Javed Dadabhai is mourning for his gentle cousin, believed to have died in the first mosque attack.

Mortara was the breadwinner of the family, supporting his mother, wife and their three children, ages 1 to 5.

He had inherited his father's shop, which was covered in flowers on Saturday.

Mortara was an avid cricket fan, and would always send a sparring text with relatives over cricket matches when Canterbury faced Auckland.

Linda Armstrong, 65

A friend told the Herald that Armstrong died in the arms of a lady who was shot in the arm and survived at Linwood Mosque.

The friend said Armstrong always took people into her home and was kind, sponsoring a boy from Bangladesh.

"She was so happy. She was always excited to do a good deed. She was happy to do it."

Haji-Daoud Nabi, 71

Nabi moved his family to New Zealand in 1979 to escape the Soviet-Afghan war. Days before the shootings, his son, Omar, recalled his father speaking about the importance of unity.

"My father said how important it is to spread love and unity among each other and protect every member of the society we live in," he told Al-Jazeera.

Omar Nabi told the news network his father ran an Afghan Association and helped refugees settle in their new country.

"He used to make them feel at home."

Haji-Daoud Nabi and his grandchild

Abdus Samad, 67

Originally from Madhur Hailla village in Bangladesh's Kurigram district, Abdus Samad was among two people of Bangladeshi origin who died in the attacks, according to Sahahriar Alam, the country's state minister for foreign affairs.

Born on February 23, 1953, Samad worked as a lecturer in Bangladesh's Agricultural Development Corporation. He retired in December 2012 and moved to New Zealand with his wife and two sons the following year, according to a family member.

After obtaining citizenship in New Zealand, Samad worked as a visiting professor at the Lincoln University in Christchurch.

His brother, Habibur Rahman, told Al Jazeera that Samad used to lead prayers at Al Noor mosque.

"He was a very pious person", Rahman said from Kurigram.

Matiullah Safi

The Afghan Embassy in Canberra said a man of Afghan origin, Matiullah Safi, died in the attack.

The statement on Facebook did not give additional details, but condemned the attack as "barbaric" and said three other Afghan nationals were wounded.

Lilik Abdul Hamid

A popular and respected father-of-two who worked as an engineer for Air New Zealand is among those killed at the Deans Ave mosque.

The airline confirmed Lilik Abdul Hamid, an aircraft maintenance engineer in Christchurch, was in the mosque at the time of the attacks.

He was married with two children.

Air NZ chief executive officer Christopher Luxon said the airline was devastated.

"Lilik has been a valued part of our engineering team in Christchurch for 16 years, but he first got to know the team even earlier when he worked with our aircraft engineers in a previous role overseas," he said.

"The friendships he made at that time led him to apply for a role in Air New Zealand and make the move to Christchurch. His loss will be deeply felt by the team.

"Lilik, his wife Nina and their children Zhania and Gerin are well known and loved by our close-knit team of engineers and their families, who are now doing all they can to support the family alongside our leadership team and the airline's special assistance team.

"Our thoughts are with them and their family and friends as they come to terms with this terrible loss."

Lilik Abdul Hamid

Four Egyptians killed

Egyptian authorities released the names of four citizens killed. They were: Munir Suleiman and Ahmed Jamal al-Din Abdul Ghani, both 68, Ashraf Morsi and Ashraf al-Masri.

Tarek Elwassimy, Egypt's ambassador to New Zealand, said the bodies will be transported back to Egypt or buried by Tuesday.

Ashraf Ali

A school friend of Ali's said he will always remember his quiet friend's laugh.

"There was a game we used to play called Last Card," Abdul Qayyum told Daily Mail Australia.

"Every time I saw him I called him last card, and when he saw me he called me last card."


The missing:

Mojammel Hoq, 30

Hoq, from Bangladesh, is among the missing, a friend told the Herald. He has been in Christchurch for more than two years, studying dentistry.

Abdelfattah Qasem, 59

The Muslim Association's former secretary, who was born in Palestine, has not been seen since the gunman entered the Al Noor Mosque.

Kamel Darwish, 39

Zuhair Darwish was standing at a cordon near the Al Noor Mosque on Friday pleading for information about his brother, father-of-three Kamel Darwish.

In TV footage he was seen saying to police officers: "He's been missing since 1.30 and we know nothing about it. I came to the mosque and they told me go to the hospital.

"We've been waiting at the hospital since then, nobody even at the hospital wants to give us the names, we don't have any information. Nobody tells us anything."

Farhaj Ahsan, 30

Ashan left the Christchurch home he shares with his wife Insha Aziz, 3-year-old daughter and 7-month-old son on Friday morning for prayer.

"I do not know where my son is," his father Mohammad Sayeeduddin told the Herald from his home in Hyderabad, India.

"I have been in contact with his wife in New Zealand since it happened and we don't know anything.

"Please bring me good news on my son."

Ashan moved to New Zealand from Hyderabad six years ago. The software engineer did his master's degree at the University of Auckland in 2010 before settling in Christchurch.

Friends supporting Ashan's wife at the couple's Christchurch home said she did not accept he was among the dead in the mosque.

Farhaj Ahsan

Ali Elmadani

Elmadani and his wife migrated from the United Arab Emirates in 1998.

The retired Christchurch engineer always told his children to be strong and patient, so that's what they are trying to do after the tragedy, his daughter, Maha Elmadani, told Stuff.

"He considered New Zealand home and never thought something like this would happen here," she said.

Her mother was "staying as strong as possible. My younger brother isn't doing too well with the news."


The injured:

Alin Alsati, 4

A Jordanian man said his 4-year-old niece is fighting for her life after being wounded.

Sabri Daraghmeh said by phone that Alin remains "in the danger phase" and her father, Waseem — Sabri's brother — is in a stable condition.

Daraghmeh said Waseem moved to New Zealand five years ago and described it as the "safest place one could ever live in."

The Daraghmehs are of Palestinian origin but have Jordanian citizenship.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said Saturday at least four Palestinians were killed but acknowledged they could have been counted by Jordan or other countries.

Waseem Alsati, with his daughters, including Alin (left).

Shihadeh Nasasrah, 63

Nasasrah spent terrifying minutes lying underneath two dying men as the gunman kept firing.

The assailant "would go out and bring more ammunition and resume shooting," said Nasasrah, speaking by phone from Christchurch Hospital where he was recovering from two shots to the leg.

"Every time he stopped, I thought he was gone. But he returned over and over again. I was afraid to leave because I didn't know the safest way out. I died several times, not one time."

Mohammed Elyan

The Jordanian, who is in his 60s, co-founded one of the mosques in 1993. His son, who is in his 30s, was also wounded, according to Muath Elyan, Mohammed's brother.

Muath Elyan said his brother helped establish the mosque a year after arriving in New Zealand, where he teaches engineering at a university and runs a consultancy.

His brother last visited Jordan two years ago.

"He used to tell us life was good in New Zealand and its people are good and welcoming. He enjoyed freedom there and never complained about anything. I'm sure this bloody crime doesn't represent the New Zealanders."

Muhammad Amin Nasir, 67

Nasir and his son were just 200 meters from the Al Noor mosque when everything went wrong.

A car driving by stopped suddenly and a man leaned out the window pointing a gun at them.

They ran but Muhammad Nasir could not keep up with his 35-year-old son. He sustained critical injuries.

Nasir, who lived in Pakistan, was on the third week of a visit to his son.

Adeeb Sami, 52

Sami was shot in the back as he dove to protect his sons, Abdullah, 29, and Ali, 23, Gulf News reported.

"My dad is a real hero. He got shot in the back near his spine in an attempt to shield my brothers but he didn't let anything happen to them," Adeeb's daughter, Heba, 30, said.

Sami, described by Gulf News as a Dubai-based New Zealander of Iraqi origin, underwent surgery to remove the bullet and his daughter said he's recovering.

Zulfirman Syah and son Averroes

Alta Marie said her husband Zulfirman Syah shielded their son, Averroes, during the attack at Linwood Masjid.

Syah's bravery meant he was hit with multiple bullets and sustained much more complex injuries than their son Averroes, she said.

Late last night, in a social media post, she wrote: "He is in stable condition following the extensive exploratory and reconstructive surgery he had earlier today. While he is still in the intensive care unit at this stage, he will be moved to the general ward whenever it is deemed appropriate (likely in the next day or so).

"While the road to recovery will be long, his condition has only improved since he arrived at the hospital yesterday. This afternoon he had a visit from the Indonesian ambassador, which lifted his spirits.

"Averroes (our son) sustained minor injuries and had surgery this morning to extract some shrapnel while checking for internal injuries. He is recovering nicely and has been cheerful while keeping the staff on the children's ward entertained with his talkative and energetic nature.

"I am grateful that my family members are alive, as many lives were lost during these attacks. Please keep those people in your thoughts and prayers."

The family moved to Christchurch two months ago.

Zulfirman Syah