49 people killed in terrorist attack at two mosques in New Zealand
SANA’A – Gunmen entered two mosques and began shooting in New Zealand’s city of Christchurch on Friday with police saying there were many dead, while police defused several improvised explosive devices found attached to vehicles.
At least 49 people have been killed and tens of others seriously injured after gunmen opened fire in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, in what is now the worst ever mass shooting in New Zealand history, World News reported.
“A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter,” New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said on Friday, adding, “Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high”.
Bush said four suspects were in custody – three men and a woman – but added that “let’s not presume the danger is gone”.
A number of improvised explosives were found attached to the assailants’ vehicles, but it is not clear whether they were planning a suicide attack. The explosives were then defused.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the incident a terrorist attack in a Friday press conference, stressing that the suspects held “extremist views” that have no place in New Zealand or the world.
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.”
In the aftermath of the attacks, New Zealand has been placed on its highest security threat level according to the PM.
A total of 48 patients, including young children with gunshot wounds, are have been admitted to Christchurch hospital for treatment.
Four people were taken into custody, three men and one woman, in connection with the attack but only one has been charged with murder so far. It has been confirmed that all four held extremist views but were not on any police watchlists.
Authorities have urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors. Police warned worshippers not to visit mosques “anywhere in New Zealand”. New Zealand police have also warned all mosques countrywide to shut their doors due to a “very serious and tragic incident involving an active shooter”.
The attack resulted in the highest death toll from gun violence in the nation’s recent history.