New Zealand mosque shootings: dozens of killed in injured
Numerous people were killed this morning when unidentified gunmen opened fire at people inside two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
At least one gunman killed 40 people and wounded more than 48 during Friday prayers at two mosques in the country’s worst ever mass shooting, which the country's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as terrorism.
Armed people entered the the Al Noor and Linwood Masjid mosques in Christchurch at about 13:45 local time (04:46 Moscow time) shortly after the day prayer, blocked the entrance doors and opened fire. According to eyewitnesses, about 300 people were inside the buildings when the attack occurred.
One of the attacks appears to have been livestreamed on social media. The graphic video has since been removed and police are requesting that people refrain from sharing it.
New Zealand was placed on its highest security threat level, Ardern said, adding that four people in police custody held extremist views but had not been on any police watchlists.
Ardern at a news conference alluded to anti-immigrant sentiment as the possible motive, saying that while many people affected by the shootings may be migrants or refugees "they have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us."
She said that this is "one of New Zealand’s darkest days," as authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack.
As for the suspects, Ardern said “these are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand," the AP reported.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said at least one of the Christchurch attackers is an Australian born citizen. Speaking at a press conference in Sydney, Morrison condemned the attackers as "extremist right wing, violent terrorists."
Police said improvised explosive devices were found with a vehicle they stopped. All mosques in New Zealand had been asked to shut their doors, police said.