New Zealand police have formally released the names of five victims who were gunned down in Christchurch mosques as part of a suspected white nationalist terror attack.
- The youngest victim of the attack was just three years old
- Haji Daoud Nabi, 71, was the oldest victim and the first to be identified
- Some of those killed had rushed to save others during the shooting
Friday’s attack, believed to have been carried out by 28-year-old Australian man Brenton Tarrant, was the worst peacetime mass killing in New Zealand, claiming 50 lives.
This marks the first official naming of victims by police, who have been working to identify the bodies as part of their investigation.
The families of the victims were informally notified of the deceased after the attack.
However, the names officially released by police today are not the only names to have emerged publicly so far.
Two other names were unofficially revealed today — that of Khalid Mustafa, 44, and his son Hamza, 15 — during the first burials of the victims.
A further 50 people were also reportedly injured in the attacks, 12 of whom remain in a critical condition.
Here is what we know so far about the first five victims named by police.
Mucaad Ibrahim, 3
Mucaad Ibrahim was the youngest victim of the massacre when he was fatally shot at Al Noor mosque.
The toddler had attended the Friday prayers with his father and older brother Abdi.
When the attack began, Abdi fled for his life while his father pretended to be dead. But Mucaad was lost in the chaos.
The New Zealand Herald reported that the family searched in vain for the toddler at Christchurch hospital and later posted a photograph of Mucaad, smiling with Abdi with the caption: “Verily we belong to God and to Him we shall return. Will miss you dearly brother.”
Junaid Ismail, 36
Mr Ismail died at the Al Noor mosque, according to the statement released by police.
A friend who posted about Mr Ismail’s death on Facebook said he was married with three young children, and that the family ran a corner store in the Christchurch suburb of Hornby.
His twin brother Zahid Ismail told The New Zealand Herald on Tuesday that the family was pleading with the Government to release his body.
Families of those killed in the attack have become frustrated with the slow release of their bodies.
“I want Junaid brought back to my family because that’s the only thing I can influence right now,” Zahid Ismail told the paper.
New Zealand police said they were aware of the families’ concerns, but that it was their priority to “ensure no mistakes are made”.
Kamel Moh’d Kamal Kamel Darwish, 38
Mr Darwish, a Jordanian citizen, was also killed at the Al Noor mosque.
He was married and had three children aged between two and seven who still lived in Jordan, according to Radio New Zealand.
He reportedly migrated to New Zealand about six months ago.
His brother, Zuhair Darwish, told the broadcaster that Mr Darwish had applied for visas so they could join him.
“It’s very hard to live in Jordan and I told him, come here, it’s the best place that you can raise your child,” he said.
“Everybody can’t believe it … I can’t believe it.”
Hati Mohemmed Daoud Nabi, 71
Mr Nabi was killed at the Al Noor mosque.
He was identified in a speech from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as the man who opened the door of the mosque for the gunman.
“[Mr Nabi] uttered the words ‘Hello brother, welcome’. His final words,” Ms Ardern said.
“Of course, he had no idea of the hate that sat behind the door, but his welcome tells us so much — that he was a member of a faith that welcomed all its members, that showed openness, and care.”
His son, Yama Nabi, said his father came to New Zealand from Afghanistan in 1977.
Another son, Omar Nabi, said he would like to take his father back there to be buried.
“My father will be buried. I’d like to take him back to Afghanistan, this is his homeland,” Mr Nabi said.
He said he never would have expected anything like this could happen in Christchurch.
“Not at all, this is New Zealand man, multicultural you know. There’s not many words that I can put to what has happened here because it’s so calm and relaxed,” he said.
Mohsen Mohammed Al Harbi, 63
Mohsen Mohammed Al Harbi was killed at the Al Noor mosque and was identified as a New Zealand citizen in the police press release.
Earlier media reports had identified him as a Saudi national.
Mr Al Harbi was photographed being rushed to hospital following the shooting.
His son, Feras Al Harbi, told the Arab News newspaper that Mr Al Harbi died eight hours later.
Feras Al Harbi said his father had lived in New Zealand for 25 years, and was a part-time imam who occasionally gave the Friday sermon at one of the mosques targeted in the Christchurch attacks.
A former employer, Showerwell Home Products, wrote on Facebook that Mr Al Harbi was “a real character and a kind and caring Kiwi”.
Mr Al Harbi’s wife, Manal, suffered a heart attack after trying to find her husband during the attack, and was in hospital in a critical condition, according to the Arab News report.
His body has already been taken to Saudi Arabia to be buried in the city of Medina, the newspaper said.