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  1. ITV Report

'Everybody would be dead if it was not for you': Worshipper praises man who saved lives during Christchurch attack

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent John Ray

The strongest bonds can be formed in the most testing times and so it is for Shoaib Gani and the man who saved his life during the Christchurch terror attack, with a credit card machine.

As the two men met following the New Zealand attack, Mr Gani thanked Abdul Aziz telling him: "Everybody would have been dead if it wasn't for you."

When Mr Aziz came face to face with the gunman, he only had one means of defence at hand - a credit card machine which takes the mosque's weekly collection.

Describing this moment to ITV News' John Ray, he said: "That credit card machine I had in my hands, I threw at him and then he just managed to get the rifle from the car and he started shooting at me."

He told of how he grabbed the gunman's weapons and tried to turn it on him, saying: "I just picked the shotgun and pulled the trigger, there was no bullet it in."

Mr Aziz added: "I just ran from the back, I was swearing and yelling at him with the shotgun in my hands.

"He just dropped his gun there and ran and I just chased him, that time I could see he was frightened in his eyes, he was scared."

After hearing Mr Aziz's account of how he chased down the gunman, Mr Gani praised his courageous actions.

He said: "I can't imagine how much courage it takes, to run down a heavily armed gunman, he has to be really crazy to do that."

Fifty people died in the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch after a lone attacker opened fire during Friday prayers.

At Linwood mosque, seven people died but there were 80 worshippers there that day - men, women, children - and most of them lived.

Al Noor mosque in the city centre was also targeted.

Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, has been charged with one count of murder and appeared at court on Saturday.

He was remanded until April 5.

Mourners pray near the Linwood mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Credit: AP

Mr Gani also described how the attack at Linwood mosque unfolded.

He told ITV News: "He was shooting and shooting and it was beheading people around me."

"It was the moment I saw my friend dead, another friend got shot in the shoulder, a few people dead with clothes over their bodies and our Imam was crying, holding a dead body in his hands."

On Tuesday, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called Mr Aziz a "hero".

She said: "He risked his life and no doubt saved many with his selfless bravery."

Ms Ardern also vowed never to speak the name of the man believed to have carried out the Christchurch terror attack - because she does not want to give him the notoriety he sought.

In her first speech to parliament since 50 people were shot dead in two mosques, Ms Ardern urged others "to speak the names of those who are lost, rather than the name of the man who took them".