By DailyNewsUG Foreign Correspondent
At least 49 people are killed and 48 injured in multiple Christchurch mosque massacres involving an Australian terrorist, 28, who live-streamed himself opening fire on worshippers – as a man in his 20s is charged with murder
- Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots from his semi-automatic shotgun at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch
- The gunman live-streamed the mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque, which happened about 1.30pm
- A second mosque, Masjid in Linwood, also in the city of Christchurch, was reportedly concurrently attacked
- Witnesses have said they saw ‘blood everywhere’ and multiple people were reportedly killed in the massacre
- Four people – who were not known to counter-terror authorities – were taken into custody for questioning.
A white Australian right-wing terrorist who livestreamed his sickening shooting spree on Facebook is one of four people arrested over dual mosque attacks which left 49 dead and 48 injured on New Zealand’s ‘darkest day’.
The gunman, who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant from Grafton, NSW, Australia, stormed the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country’s South Island about 1.30pm, opening fire with a semi-automatic shotgun and a rifle on about 100 defenceless worshippers attending Friday prayers.
A sickening 17-minute video of the unfolding horror shows the self-confessed white supremacist dressed in army fatigues firing mercilessly at people scrambling to flee, and calmly reloading when he runs out of bullets.
At about the same time, there was a second shooting at Masjid mosque in Linwood, where seven more were killed.
Three of the arrests are believed to be directly related to the attacks, with the fourth’s involvement still being determined.
Of the 49 fatalities, 41 were killed at the Al Noor Mosque and seven at the Linwood Avenue mosque. Three were outside the mosque itself. A 49th died in hospital.
A further 48 people were rushed to Christchurch Hospital with gunshot wounds, 20 in a critical condition. A dozen operating theatres were opened, with many victims requiring multiple life-saving surgeries.
Families are now crowding around the front doors of the hospital, with many unsure whether their loved one will survive.
New Zealand’s terror threat level was changed to ‘high alert’ following the terror attacks, the second highest possible.
In New Zealand’s worst ever terror attack and one of the worst mass-shootings ever:
- 49 people killed by at least one gunman at two separate mosques in Christchurch on Friday from 1.30pm
- The gunman at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch – a 28-year-old Australian – live-streamed the mass shooting
- Four suspects – who were not known to counter-terror authorities – are being questioned in custody
- One of the men in his ‘late 20s’, whose identity has not been confirmed by police, was later charged with murder
- The Bangladesh cricket team were on their way to the Al Noor Mosque at the time of the shooting
- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday’s terror attack was ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’
A man who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant (pictured) live-streamed the massacre of dozens of people in Christchurch, New Zealand
Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country’s South Island. Pictured is a still from a live-stream of the shooting
A man wearing military fatigues (pictured) was arrested outside Papanui High School
At least one gunman has opened fire at a mosque in New Zealand , shooting at children and killing dozens of people
Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country’s South Island
New Zealand Police have evacuated homes in Dunedin as they investigate a home ‘of interest’ to the shootings.
The address is believed to be the home the gunman’s car is registered to. Surrounding homes on Somerville Street were evacuated as a ‘precaution’.
Early reports indicated a shooting at Christchurch Hospital. However, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the mosques were the lone targets.
She did confirm multiple bombs were attached to two cars belonging to the suspects near the mosque. The explosives were disarmed before they could detonate.
Police urged people near the area to stay indoors and report suspicious behaviour, describing the incident as ‘critical’. A lock down on buildings in the area, including schools, was lifted on Friday evening.
Ms Ardern said there were no further suspects at this stage.
She called the attacks ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’.
‘My thoughts, and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders, are with those who have been affected, and also with their families.
One of the gunmen live-streamed the mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque, which happened at 1.30pm as Friday prayers were underway
Survivors gather near the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Road hours after the place of worship was attacked
AUTHORITIES RESPOND TO THE ATTACKS
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed the death toll had risen to 49 as of 9pm local time.
‘This is absolutely tragic. So many people are affected. We don’t know the identities of those who have died yet because those places are in lockdown,’ he said in a statement at about 6pm.
Speaking of the victims, Commissioner Bush said: ‘Our love and thoughts go out to them and all of their family, all of their friends and all of their loved ones.’
He also praised local police officers who responded to the attacks.
‘We have staff around the country making sure everyone is safe, including armed offenders at all mosques. Police staff have gone above and beyond to protect people today.’
Armed police were seen patrolling the Masijd Ayesha Mosque in Auckland after the attack in Christchurch.
He earlier urged Muslims in New Zealand not to go to mosques on Friday.
Commissioner Bush said four people were in custody. He also confirmed multiple bombs attached to vehicles near the scene of the shootings were disarmed.
Police escort distraught witnesses away from a mosque in central Christchurch following twin massacres
Armed police push back members of the public trying to reach the mosque to check on fellow worshippers
Armed police maintain a presence outside the Masijd Ayesha Mosque in Manurewa in Auckland after the attack in Christchurch