Friday, 15 March 2019

49 killed as gunmen open fire in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand

At least 49 people have been killed and over 40 injured after gunmen opened fire in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch Friday, a coordinated and unprecedented attack that has shocked the usually peaceful nation.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the incident a terrorist attack in a Friday press conference, saying the suspects held "extremist views" that have no place in New Zealand or the world.




The shooting happened al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue, and Linwood mosque on Linwood Avenue in Christchurch's city center.

A total of 48 patients, including young children with gunshot wounds, have been admitted to Christchurch hospital for treatment.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four people have been taken into custody -- three men and one woman. Police do not believe there are any other suspects but said it was still an open investigation.

Bush said that a male in his late 20s has been charged with murder and will appear at the Christchurch court Saturday morning local time.

One of the four apprehended at the scene was in possession of firearms but police said they may have had nothing to do with incident. Two others were also arrested in possession of firearms and police are still trying to understand their involvement, Bush said. None of the four had been on any security watch lists prior to the attack.

Two improvised explosive devices were attached to a vehicle as part of the attack. One device has been disabled and authorities are working on the other.

A number of weapons were also recovered at both the Linwood and Dean Avenue locations.

In a press conference, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the attack as "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

"What has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence," she said, adding that the attackers have "no place in New Zealand."

"For now my thoughts and I'm sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders are with those who have been affected their families," she said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that at least one of the individuals taken into custody is an Australian born citizen. He called the shooting as being at hands of a "extremist right wing, violent terrorist" at a press conference Friday.

However, in a social media post just before the attack, an account that is believed to belong to one of the attackers posted a link to an 87-page manifesto that was filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideas and explanations for an attack. The manifesto was not signed.



One gunman live-streamed footage of his rampage to Facebook, filmed with a head-mounted camera. The footage showed him firing indiscriminately at men, women and children from close range inside the Al-Noor mosque.

Police called on the public not to share the "extremely distressing" footage online. Facebook said it had removed the gunman's Facebook and Instagram accounts and was working to remove any copies of the footage.


One unnamed survivor told TV New Zealand he was at the Al Noor mosque, and saw a gunman shoot a man directly in the chest. The attacker reportedly targeted the men's prayer room in the mosque, then moved to the women's room.

"What I did was basically just waiting and praying, God please, let this guy run out of bullets," the witness said. "He came to this side, he shot this side, he went to another room and went to the ladies' section and shot them. I just heard one of the ladies has died."

Christchurch is a coastal city of 404,500 residents. It is the second most-populous city in New Zealand behind Auckland and Wellington. It has an agricultural economy.

Source: CNN/BBC


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