New Zealand Christchurch terror attack LIVE updates: New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern Friday said that 40 people were killed during Friday prayers at two New Zealand mosques in the country’s worst-ever mass shooting. Thirty fatalities occurred at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. Seven of the dead were inside the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque and three died outside the same mosque.
New Zealand police Friday said they have taken into custody four persons — three men and one woman — over shootings at two mosques in Central Christchurch. Mike Bush, the police chief, said several explosive devices were found attached to cars in the city and they have now been defused.
Read | Christchurch terror attack: Can only be described as a terrorist attack, says PM Jacinda Ardern
Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that one of the four people taken into custody in New Zealand’s mosque shootings is an Australian. He said Australian authorities were assisting with the investigation.
Morrison said Australians were shocked, appalled and outraged by the attack. He described the gunman as “an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.”
Officials have urged anyone in central Christchurch to stay indoors. A few Bangladesh cricket team members who had visited the mosque were able to escape unhurt. The players just started running when they heard the shots. I don’t know how many (gunshots) there were. This happened at about 1.45pm,” a team coach said.
Mass shooting has been reported at a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand. Follow LIVE updates here. Also read in Malayalam | Bangla | Tamil
Radio New Zealand quoted a witness inside the mosque saying he heard shots fired and at least four people were lying on the ground and "there was blood everywhere".
"Horrified to hear of Christchurch mosque shootings. There is never a justification for that sort of hatred," said Amy Adams, a member of parliament from Christchurch.
“Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence. Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here,” the PM said in a media briefing.
Urging New Zealanders to remain in lockdown, Ardern said, “They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was. The advice from police continues to be that people remain indoors.”
New Zealand Christchurch mosque attack: What we know so far
“A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter,” New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush was quoted as saying by Reuters. “Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high.”