TALES OF HEROISM, TRAGEDY EMERGE | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 18, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, March 18, 2019

NZ MOSQUE MASSACRE

TALES OF HEROISM, TRAGEDY EMERGE

New Zealanders flocked to memorial sites to lay flowers and mourned the victims of the twin mosque massacres yesterday, as testimony emerged of epic heroism and harrowing suffering in the gun attack that has claimed 50 lives.

HERO REFUGEE CHASED GUNMAN AWAY

When Afghan refugee Abdul Aziz saw a man brandishing a gun outside his mosque in Christchurch, he ran towards the attacker armed with the only weapon he could find -- a hand-held credit card machine.

"You don't have much time to think, whatever you think of, you just do it, you know," Aziz told AFP, brushing off the "hero" tag as local Muslims gathered to thank him for saving relatives and friends.

Initially thinking someone was setting off firecrackers, Aziz became suspicious and ran out of the mosque, grabbing a small credit card processing device. Outside, he was stunned to find an armed man wearing military-style fatigues.

Aziz hurled the machine at Tarrant and then ducked between cars as the self-confessed fascist unleashed a barrage of shots at him.

Unhurt, he picked up an empty shotgun the gunman had discarded and shouted "come on here" repeatedly in an effort to draw him away from his sons and the other worshippers.

"When he see the gun in my hands, I don't know what happened, he dropped the gun and I chased him with my own gun.”

BOOKSHELF SAVED ME

As the bullets tore into worshippers during Friday prayers, taxi driver Abdul Kadir Ababora threw himself to the floor and wedged himself under a bookshelf used to hold the Qurans, praying he would see his wife and kids again.

Like so many who attended weekly prayers at Christchurch's Al Noor mosque, Ababora had come to New Zealand from Ethiopia in 2010 hoping to find peace and prosperity.

Ababora said the mosque's imam had just started delivering the English translation of the khutbah -- the sermon during Friday prayers -- when the gunfire erupted outside.

Ababora said he instinctively fell to the ground and managed to squeeze himself against a bookshelf that held the Qurans worshippers used during prayers. Crucially, it made his body a slightly smaller target.

"I just pretended as if I am dead," he said.

Ababora said he was sickened at how methodical the killer was, firing round after round into the crumpled pile of bodies in a well-planned attack he later learned was broadcast on Facebook.

PAK TO AWARD 'COURAGE' OF CITIZEN

A Pakistani victim of the Christchurch attack who apparently tried to tackle the gunman before being shot dead will be awarded posthumously in his home country for his courage, Prime Minister Imran Khan said yesterday.

Video of the massacre shows one man gunned down as he approaches the shooter, while others flee.

The man is believed to be Naeem Rashid, although his face is blurred in the footage and he has yet to be formally identified.

"Pakistan is proud of Mian Naeem Rashid who was martyred trying to tackle the White Supremacist terrorist & his courage will be recognised with a national award," Khan tweeted yesterday.

Pakistan has several awards to recognise civilian bravery, and Khan did not specify which one would be awarded to Rashid, whose son also died in the massacre.

Rashid's elder brother Khurshid Alam told AFP in the northwestern Pakistani city of Abbottabad that the award "means a lot" to his family.

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