FIFA confirmed on Twitter yesterday that New Zealand’s futsal goalkeeper was killed in Masjid Al-Noor during Friday’s double mosque massacre in Christchurch.
Atta Elayyan was seriously injured in Masjid Al-Noor and was announced dead yesterday morning.
Tweeting from their official account on Sunday: “with deep sorrow that we learned today that the goalkeeper of New Zealand futsal team, Atta Elayyan was killed during the tragic attacks in Christchurch. All our condolences to Elayyan family and the families of the victims who perished in the attacks.”
Mr Elayyan is married and has left behind a baby daughter.
In a statement, New Zealand Football said it was deeply sad to receive the news of Elayyan’s death.
He had 19 international caps for the New Zealand Futsal Whites.
Chief Executive Andrew Pragnell said: “On behalf of everyone at New Zealand Football our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who has been affected by these heinous acts of violence.”
Ghassan Alaraji, 35, who works as an osteopath in Auckland, told the media that he witnessed Mr Elayyan’s death in one of the horrific videos posted online by the gunman, Brenton Tarrant.
Mr Alaraji said: “It showed a young chap running towards the perpetrator trying to tackle him to stop him from shooting.
“Just before that happened, the perpetrator shot him. That was my friend Atta.”
Mr Elayyan is the son of the founder of Masjid Al-Noor who was also injured in the attack.
The death toll from Friday’s double mosque massacre is currently at 51 with 46 seriously injured.