49 Killed As Gunmen Open Fire In New Zealand’s Christchurch Mosques

Christchurch
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At least 49 people have been killed after gunmen opened fire in two of New Zealand’s city of Christchurch mosques on Friday. 20 people have also been confirmed as seriously injured. 41 people were killed at the al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue, according to the police commissioner, and seven people died at the Linwood Mosque on Linwood Avenue, with one person dying in hospital from their injuries. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the unprecedented attack a “terrorist attack” in a press conference on Friday. 

A current total of 48 patients have been admitted to Christchurch hospital for treatment. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said that four people have been taken into custody. None of the four were on security watch lists prior to the attack, and police do not believe there are any other suspects. 

A number of weapons were recovered at both the Linwood and Dean Avenue locations. Two explosive devices were also attach to a vehicle as part of the attack. Authorities are working on disabling one device, as they have successfully disabled one already. 

In a press conference, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” adding, “for now my thoughts and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders are with those who have been affected their families.”

In a social media post just before the attack, an account that is believed to belong to one of the attackers posted an 87-page manifesto filled with anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant ideas and explanations for an attack. However, authorities said that they “will not be discussing the offenders’ possible motivations or the causes of this incident” at this stage. 

Police are also aware of a video broadcast live during the attack, showing a gunman walking into a mosque and opening fire. New Zealand police “strongly urge that the link (video) not be shared”. 

Christchurch was put on lockdown, shutting all schools and council buildings, as well as roads around the city. New Zealand police announced at 6pm that the lockdown on schools had been lifted. 

Our thoughts are with those affected by the tragic events.