Related Link: 40 dead as gunmen open fire in two mosques in New Zealand & live streams the slaughter
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed 40 people have been killed and at least 20 others injured in Friday’s mosque attacks in Christchurch.
Gunmen entered two mosques and began shooting in New Zealand’s city of Christchurch on Friday killing at least 40 people – an unprecedented attack in the quiet countryside in the Pacific.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference that 20 others were in serious condition after the “terrorist” attack.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four suspects were in custody – three men and a woman.
Sam Clarke, a reporter with TVNZ, spoke with several people inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque when the shooting began. A man entered with an automatic weapon and began firing.
“A gunman – dressed in black with a helmet carrying a machine gun – came into the back of the mosque and started firing into the people praying there,” said Clarke.
Police confirmed a second shooting occurred at the Linwood mosque during Friday prayers in the South Island city, but no details were immediately available.
Ardern said: “This is, and will be, one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us.
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) March 15, 2019
Authorities have not described the scale of Friday’s shootings but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors. New Zealand media reported between nine and 27 people were killed, but the death toll could not be confirmed.
Police warned worshippers not to visit mosques “anywhere in New Zealand”. A lockdown imposed throughout Christchurch was called off at about 05:00 GMT.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of the suspects was an Australian national, calling him an “extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist”.