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Christchurch worshipper reveals how he survived attack by playing dead

‘I made my body loose, lay down and held my breath’: Christchurch mosque worshipper reveals how he survived the massacre by playing dead as the gunman killed dozens around him

  • Survivor of Christchurch massacre has described how he ‘played dead’ to live  
  • Gulser Ali said he made his body ‘loose and lay down’ to escape the gunman  
  • Gunman opened fire at worshippers at the Al Noor mosque in New Zealand    
  • 50 people including children are confirmed dead and others remain in hospital

A survivor of the Christchurch massacre has described how he ‘held his breath’ and played dead in a last-ditch bid to avoid the gunman.

Gulser Ali had attended prayers at the Al Noor mosque when the it was stormed by Australian alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant, 28.

As bullets began to ring out, Mr Ali said he tried to flee the scene, but soon realised there was no escape route.

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Gulser Ali (pictured) had attended prayers at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch when the building was stormed by the alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant

He said when the gunshots were first fired, the victims started screaming and attempted to flee.   

‘I ran from the mosque [and] when the people, they start falling down, I jump over them and then I see no way to go. I don’t know where I am going, then I thought, “okay go down, just lie down” and… I lie down and hold my breath,’ Mr Ali told Sunday Night.

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‘[I] make my body loose and then for a while, I lie dead like that and then… keep watching with the eyes,’ he added.

Another survivor, Nour Travis, said that many worshippers were so scared they were unable to move.

The image shows one of the victims of the shooting being taken away on a stretcher by medical staff 

Survivor Nour Travis (pictured) said that many people were so scared they ‘froze’ unable to move

‘They just… yeah, freeze. So some people, they freeze,’ he said, adding those people ‘didn’t make it out’.  

A two-year-old boy, meanwhile, was saved from the attack at the Linwood Islamic Centre by his father who threw himself over the youngster and shielded him from a hail of bullets. 

Brave Zulfirman was shot several times to his body but shielded his son, Averroes, for enough time for others to chase the gunman away. 

Averroes was hit in the leg and buttock by shrapnel but only suffered minor injuries, while his father had to undergo emergency surgery.

A two-year-old boy (pictured centre) was saved from the attack at the Linwood Islamic Centre by his father Zulfirman Syah(pictured left) who threw himself over the youngster (Zulfirman’s wife Alta Marie pictured right)

Brave Zulfirman (pictured) was shot several times to his body but shielded his son, Averroes, for enough time for others to chase the gunman away

Zulfirman’s wife Alta Marie told the New Zealand Herald: ‘My husband shielded our son during the attack at Linwood Islamic Centre, which caused him to receive most of the bullets and much more complex injuries than our son.’

Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah has for the first time spoken since the deadly shooting left at least six people dead at his mosque.

Worshippers were all about to drop to the floor for the second part of the Muslim prayer service when Brother Lateef spotted the gunman out the front and shouted his warning.

‘He saved lots of lives,’ a worshipper who survived the Linwood part of the massacre told Daily Mail Australia.

Another survivor Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah (pictured) has broke his silence for the first time since the deadly shooting

The prayer leader, who was seen leaving the mosque in blood-soaked clothing said he warned worshippers to take cover after hearing the gunman open fire outside

‘Many more would be dead if we had been kneeling’.

The prayer leader said he was inside when the gunman began shooting Muslim worshippers outside.

‘When I saw those Muslims shot dead I just told our brothers, ”Go down! Go down! Somebody has just shot our brothers outside the masjid”,’ he told the New Zealand Herald.

But Zirullah said many of them were not quick enough to heed his warnings and did not react until another man was shot in the head through the window.

‘He [Gunman] saw him standing and shot him [through] the window. When glass got broken and the brother fell down, everyone realised to go down,’ he added.

The imam ran out of the mosque with fellow worshipper Abdul Aziz, who had picked up a credit card machine on the way which he used to throw at the shooter who had ran back into his car to retrieve another firearm.

The gunman allegedly began firing back at him, but Aziz was able to dodge the stream of bullets by running through a sea of parked cars, he told the publication.

Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim (pictured) was killed as he tried to flee the gunman while his father and brother played dead 

The image shows a group of policeman standing outside the mosque in Christchurch in New Zealand 

Among those who lost their lives, was three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim who was killed as he tried to flee the gunman. 

As his father and older brother played dead inside the Al Noor mosque, Mucad ran – straight into the path of the gunman, who squeezed the trigger of his military assault rifle. 

Mucad died in his Somalian father’s arms. 

Heartbroken, his brother spoke of the little boy’s energy and playfulness, and how he ‘liked to smile and laugh a lot’.

A total of 50 worshipers including children, a renowned heart surgeon and a talented sportsman were shot dead as they prayed.

A further 50 people suffered injuries in the mass shootings and some remain in hospital in critical condition.  

The alleged gunman live-streamed the sickening attack on Facebook in which he allegedly killed dozens of Muslims during Friday prayers using four guns at the two Christchurch mosques. 


National-level futsal player Atta Elayyan (right) was reportedly killed on Friday. He is being remembered as an ‘inspiration’

Three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim (left) was also named among the dead after he passed away in the arms of his father and brother, who only survived because he played dead. Cardiologist Amjad Hamid (right) was gunned down after moving to New Zealand 23 years ago because he wanted a better future for himself and his wife 

Also believed to be among the dead is Husna Ara Parvin (left), who was reportedly gunned down as she tried to save her quadriplegic husband from the shooter. Haji Daoud Nabi (right), 71, a father-of-five and retired engineer, moved to New Zealand from Afghanistan in 1977 and set up a new life as one of the ‘first Muslims in New Zealand’. He is thought to be among the dead in the Christchurch shooting

Cashmere High School student Sayyad Milne (pictured), 14, who was at Friday prayers when the shooting started, is believed to be dead. Although it’s not been officially confirmed, his father has spoken of his loss

Khaled Mustafa (pictured) 44, was at the mosque with his sons and was later shot dead



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