A 4-year-old girl who was shot during the Christchurch terrorist attack remains critically injured nine days on.
She is one of many people who were injured when a gunman opened fire at two mosques on March 15, killing 50.
An Auckland District Health Board spokeswoman said Alen Alsati remained in a critical condition in Auckland’s Starship children’s hospital on Saturday morning.
Her father Wasseim Alsati, a barber originally from Jordan, was also injured in the attack.
“I thought the man was in the New Zealand military that’s why I was walking close to him. I didn’t run away from him,” Alsati said.
“I was walking to the prayer door. He was wearing a military uniform. I looked at his eyes and as soon as he saw me he loaded his automatic gun and then he pointed it at my daughter’s face – it was then I realised he was not in the New Zealand military.”
Alsati told the New Zealand Herald that Alen was hit with two bullets, “one in her back, bum up to her tummy and one in her big finger”.
“We are still praying for Alen to wake up. She hasn’t fully woken up yet. She has had eight operations and I have had seven,” he said.
“Alen needs one more operation because there was so much damage done to her so far. It’s going to take a long time.”
Alen is the youngest of Alsati’s four children and is due to turn 5 next month and start school, the New Zealand Herald said.
On Friday, Stuff reported that fellow barbers had rallied around Alsati and his family.
Maloney’s Barber Shop in Auckland said it would donate all its profits from Friday to Alsati and Alen.
“We realised he was the father of a little girl,” barber shop co-owner Sue Maloney said.
“Barbering is a really mixed profession – people from all walks of life. There’s a really strong sense of brotherhood.”
She said the profession was often known for its “blokey joking and banter” but the atmosphere has been subdued this week.
But customers – many of whom also shared close bonds with their barbers – had been overwhelmingly supportive about donating to Alsati.
“Having an actual, real person with a name and a story inspired people to put their hands in their pocket.”
The fundraiser, which Alsati’s friend Fahad Drarjeh established, quickly reached more than $45,000, which was thousands more than its goal.
Source : Stuff NZ
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