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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

Christchurch shooting: Hussein Al Umari's family confirm UAE-born man was killed in New Zealand

Al Umari was born in Abu Dhabi, and was believed to be at the Al Noor Masjid when the shooting began

Hussein Al Umari was believed to have been at the Al Noor Masjid when the shooting began. His mother, Janna Ezat, is desperately trying to locate him. Courtesy Janna Ezat.
Hussein Al Umari was believed to have been at the Al Noor Masjid when the shooting began. His mother, Janna Ezat, is desperately trying to locate him. Courtesy Janna Ezat.

Relatives of a man who migrated from Abu Dhabi to New Zealand have confirmed he was killed in the tragic Christchurch terrorist attack.

Hussein Al Umari, who lived most of his adolescent life in the UAE, had not been heard from since at least one gunman opened fire on two mosques in the city on Friday.

Worried family members believed he was at the Masjid Al Noor mosque - where he went every Friday for prayers - at the time of the attack.

And on Saturday, his mother, Iraqi Janna Ezat, confirmed the 36-year-old had died in the incident.

"It is with great sorrow we came to know our son Hussein Hazim Hussein Pasha Al-Umari is a martyr," she wrote on Facebook.

"Our son was full of life and always put the needs of others in front of his."

Mr Al Umari was born in Abu Dhabi but moved to Christchurch with his family in 1997.

Speaking to The National on Friday, Ms Ezat, who is originally from Iraq but spent 15 years in the UAE, said her son was supposed to have met family members for lunch after prayers.

When he had not shown up relatives first went to the mosque to search for him, and then to Christchurch Hospital.

"We went to the mosque but the street was closed so I was looking for his car to be sure that he was there," she said through tears.

"I went to the hospital to see if he was injured and that's where we stayed.

"Yesterday we were so happy we brought a brand new car and we had a nice tour. But just today everything collapsed."

Mr Al Umari's second cousin Omar Al Umari moved from Iraq to Auckland in 1997, and attended the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch.

It was there that the two men met entirely by coincidence during a soccer game, and discovered they were related.

The pair grew close and kept in touch after Omar moved to the UAE for work in 2008. The last time they saw each other was at Omar's wedding in 2010 in Auckland. He last heard from Mr Al Umari via a voice message on Whatsapp in October 2018.

"We got to know each other in 2001 and became brothers," Omar told The National.

"He always wanted to come back [to the UAE]... he always admired the UAE. Because his childhood was here in Abu Dhabi."

Updated: March 16, 2019 07:37 PM

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