Six Palestinians confirmed killed in New Zealand mosque attacks

Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry says six other Palestinians were wounded in the Christchurch mosque attacks.

New Zealand mosque shooting
Men pray in Christchurch on March 17, 2019 two days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city [Marty Melville/ AFP]

Six Palestinians were killed in Friday’s attack on two New Zealand mosques, the Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry and expatriates said.

In a statement, the ministry said they were able to verify the number despite the “absence of official New Zealand reports” from information gathered from New Zealand’s foreign ministry and Red Cross.

The ministry said six other Palestinians were wounded in the attack, and instructed non-resident ambassador to New Zealand Izzat Abdulhadi, (who is also Palestine’s ambassador to Australia) to visit the injured and to “provide them with the necessary assistance”.

“It is important to note that some of these names may intersect with the lists of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan or lists of other countries because some of them are registered in New Zealand with this nationality or that despite their Palestinian origin,” the ministry said in its statement.

Ambassador Abdulhadi said there is a small Palestinian community in Christchurch, but did not give a specific number.

The names of those killed are as below:

Abdul Fattah Qassim al-Daqqah, 57

Al-Daqqah was the Muslim Association’s former secretary. He was born in Palestine, and has not been seen since the attacker entered the Al Noor mosque.

Ali al-Madani, 66

Al-Madani was born in Palestine. His wife Nuha Assad said she has not heard from him since he went for the Friday prayer at Al Noor mosque.

Atta Mohammed Elayyan, 33

Elayyan was the goalkeeper for New Zealand’s national men’s futsal team.

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

Elayyan was shot by the gunman as he prayed.

He left behind his wife Farah and young daughter Aya.

Josh Margetts, the Futsal Development Manager sent his condolences to Elayyan’s family.

“We are deeply sorry for your loss,” Margetts said. “We can’t imagine what you are going through, but please know we love you and we are here for you during this incredibly difficult time.”

Amjad Hamid, 57

Hamid was a Palestinian refugee in Syria who had immigrated to New Zealand 23 years ago to find a better future, his wife Hanan said.

“It’s terrible … we were hoping to find a better future for us and for the children we were planning to have,” Hanan said, as reported by the New Zealand Herald.

She described her 57-year-old husband as a “very kind man”, but found it difficult to say more.

“It’s hard to talk about him,” she said.

Osama Adnan Abu Kweik, 37

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

Kamel Darwish, 39

A father of three, Darwish has been missing, according to his brother Zuhair.

“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,” Zuhair said.

‘Pray for me’

The wounded were named as Wassim Daraghmeh, his young daughter Eileen Daraghmeh, Basil As’ad, Shehadeh Al-Senawi, Mohammad Elayyan (Atta’s father) and Khalid Hijjawi.

Local Palestinian sources said that al-Sinawi is from the village of Beit Fourik, east of Nablus, and Mohammed Atta Elayyan from the town of Abu Dis in occupied East Jerusalem.

Daraghmeh, who is being treated in hospital with his daughter Eileen, recorded a message from his hospital bed where he thanked people for their support.

“I am really tired,” he said. “Please pray for me and my daughter. Hopefully, she will be so much better. God bless you all.”

The Palestinian embassy announced that it was continuing its contacts with the relevant authorities in New Zealand for official information and data.

New Zealand’s ‘darkest days’

At least 50 Muslims were killed by the “white supremacist” during Friday prayers in the city of Christchurch.

Most of the casualties were struck in the Al Noor mosque after the attacker entered and shot randomly at people with semiautomatic rifles with high-capacity magazines.

The attacker then drove off to another mosque in Linwood and killed at least nine other worshippers.

Thirty-four people were still in the Christchurch Hospital, with 12 in critical condition and one child was moved to a dedicated children’s hospital in Auckland.

The prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has called the attack one of the country’s “darkest days”.

The attacker, an Australian native, was arrested on the same day by police and has been charged with murder.

Source: Al Jazeera