Forty-nine folks have been killed and at the very least 20 others injured in shootings at two mosques in New Zealand metropolis of Christchurch within the worst assault within the Pacific nation’s historical past.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern advised a information convention that the mosque shootings seemed to be a well-planned “terrorist assault”.
“That is, and will likely be, considered one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” an ashen-faced Ardern stated.
The prime minister additionally stated two explosive units hooked up to suspect automobiles have been discovered and have been disarmed.
The mosques on course have been the Masjid Al Noor in central Christchurch and one other one in suburban Linwood.
Sam Clarke, a reporter with TVNZ, spoke with a number of folks inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque when the taking pictures started. He advised Al Jazeera a person entered with an automated weapon and started firing.
“A gunman – wearing black with a helmet carrying a machine gun – got here into the again of the mosque and began firing into the folks praying there,” stated Clarke. It was later confirmed that 30 worshippers have been killed on the mosque, together with girls and youngsters.
As many as 41 folks died at one mosque, seven at one other and one particular person died in hospital, New Zealand’s Police Commissioner Mike Bush advised reporters, describing the assault as a “very well-planned occasion”.
Two mosques have been attacked in New Zealand by gunmen leading to a ‘variety of fatalities’. Police have arrested 4 suspects – three males and a girl.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) 15 March 2019
Bush stated 4 suspects, together with a girl, have been apprehended in reference to the assaults. One of the arrested males had been charged with homicide.
Authorities have urged folks in central Christchurch to remain indoors.
|A bulletproof vest and safety gear is seen on this undated picture posted on twitter on March 12 by the obvious gunman behind Christchurch mosque assault [Twitter/via Reuters]|
Police have additionally warned worshippers to not go to mosques “wherever in New Zealand”. A lockdown imposed all through Christchurch was referred to as off at about 05:00 GMT.
Native cops apprehended 4 suspects. “There’ve been some absolute acts of bravery,” Bush stated with out elaborating.
“I will not assume there aren’t others however I haven’t got any data to that impact,” Bush advised a press convention.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the assault and stated one of many suspects was an Australian nationwide, calling him an “extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist”.
He stated Australian safety authorities have been investigating any hyperlinks between the nation and the assault, however declined to offer additional particulars concerning the Australian gunman.
“It’s such a tragic and devastating reminder of the evil that may be ever current about us,” a visibly emotional Morrison stated.
|Police patrol exterior the Masjid Al Noor in central Christchurch [Mark Baker/AP]|
Len Peneha, a witness, stated he noticed a person wearing black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque after which heard dozens of photographs, adopted by folks working from the mosque in terror.
He stated he additionally noticed the gunman flee earlier than emergency providers arrived.
Peneha – who lives subsequent to the mosque – stated he went into the constructing to attempt to assist. “I noticed lifeless folks all over the place.”
One man within the mosque, with blood stains throughout his garments, stated he hid underneath a bench because the taking pictures happened. He stated about 50 folks have been contained in the constructing.
Sam Clarke stated some worshippers managed to flee by way of home windows and doorways however “many individuals had been hit, some as younger as 16”.
About 10 to 15 folks have been seen exterior the mosque, “some alive, some lifeless”, he stated.
Farid Ahmed, a wheelchair-bound witness in Christchurch, advised Al Jazeera he was behind the mosque and heard the taking pictures for about seven minutes.
“I pushed myself on the again the place my automotive was parked and I used to be behind the automotive. And from there I used to be listening to taking pictures after taking pictures,” he stated.
“After about 10 minutes, I believed the shooter has left. I pushed myself to get contained in the mosque and it was unbelievable. I noticed in the primary room on the right-hand aspect greater than 20 folks, a few of them lifeless, some screaming.
“I noticed on the ground a whole lot of bullet shells. I noticed one man making an attempt to expire and he was shot lifeless.”
Ramzan Ali, a second witness in Christchurch, stated he heard one of many girls died.
“The mosque has segments, you understand, he shot inside, went to a different room, shot there. There’s the women part, he went and shot them. I simply heard one of many women died, I hope that it’s not true,” he stated.
Tahir Nawaz of the Worldwide Muslim Affiliation of New Zealand stated they’ve determined to limit actions on the mosques.
“The entire group is shocked. They’d by no means have anticipated something like this [to happen] on this peaceable nation. On account of that [the attack], we’re limiting our actions within the mosque and we are attempting to maintain security in our space.”
|Police escort folks away from exterior a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand [Mark Baker/The Associated Press]|
Assault video on social media
One of many gunmen shared a reside stream of the assault on Fb and posted content material on Instagram. Fb stated it has taken down the video and was eradicating reward for the gunman.
“Police are conscious there’s extraordinarily distressing footage regarding the incident in Christchurch circulating on-line,” a police assertion stated. “We’d strongly urge that the hyperlink not be shared. We’re working to have any footage eliminated.”
There have been stories racist literature was left behind on the scene denouncing “invaders”.
Commissioner Bush stated numerous bombs have been detected and neutralised on the attackers’ cars.
“There have been a couple of stories of IEDs strapped to automobiles which we have been in a position to safe,” he stated, referring to improved explosive units.
Requested by reporters whether or not police thought of Friday’s carnage a “terrorist assault”, Bush stated an investigation was underneath manner.
Shut shave for Bangladesh cricketers
ESPN Cricinfo reporter Mohammed Isam stated the members of the Bangladesh cricket staff, who have been to play a Take a look at match in Christchurch scheduled from Saturday, escaped unharmed from the mosque.
Mario Villavarayen, the power and conditioning coach of the Bangladesh cricket staff, was quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying the staff was near the place the taking pictures occurred, however was secure.
“The gamers are shaken up however effective,” Villavarayen was quoted as saying.
Complete staff bought saved from lively shooters!!! Horrifying expertise and please preserve us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack
— Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28) March 15, 2019
Following the assault, the third Take a look at between New Zealand and Bangladesh was referred to as off.
Perpetrators ‘don’t have any place in New Zealand’
Witness Peneha described the scene at Masjid Al Noor as “unbelievable”.
“I do not perceive how anybody may do that to those folks, to anybody. It is ridiculous. I’ve lived subsequent door to this mosque for about 5 years and the individuals are nice, they’re very pleasant. I simply do not perceive it,” he stated.
Muslims account for only one p.c of New Zealand’s inhabitants, a 2013 census confirmed.
“A lot of those that would have been affected by this taking pictures could also be migrants to New Zealand,” Ardern stated.
“They might even be refugees right here. They’ve chosen to make New Zealand their house and it’s their house … they’re us. The individuals who perpetuated this violence towards us … don’t have any place in New Zealand.”
Mass shootings in New Zealand are exceedingly uncommon. The deadliest in trendy historical past occurred within the small city of Aramoana in 1990, when gunman David Grey shot and killed 13 folks following a dispute with a neighbour.
|A person reacts as he speaks on a cell phone close to a mosque in central Christchurch [Mark Baker/ The Associated Press]|