Blood-soaked bandages outside the mosque on Deans Avenue in Christchurch. (Photo by EPA)
As many as 40 people killed and 20 others injured in deadly mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. At least 10 people were killed at Linwood Masjid mosque and 30 at the Al Noor Mosque near Hagley Park. The police have detained four people, including a woman, in connection with the shootings and recovered several improvised explosive devices.
"Four are in custody, three of them are men and one is a woman," commissioner Mike Bush said, adding that there were "significant" and "multiple" fatalities. The commissioner said that they have also recovered suspected IEDs attached to the attackers’ vehicles and that they had been made safe by the military.
The police have advised people in the central Christchurch to stay indoors and asked all mosques to shut down until further notice. The authorities have also locked down all schools in Christchurch. Soon after the attack, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern released a video statement to the nation and called the attacks - "one of New Zealand's darkest days".
One of the gunmen, who identified himself as "Brenton Tarrant" - a white, 28-year-old Australian, live streamed the horrific attack as he shot victims at Al Noor Mosque and wrote a 37-page manifesto about his intentions. "it is a terrorist attack," the shooter said in the live video while he continued firing indiscriminately at people inside the Al Noor Mosque.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the identity of the gunman who killed several worshippers in a New Zealand mosques. Morrison said the shooting in Christchurch was carried out by "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist" who was an Australian-born citizen. He declined to provide further details, saying the investigation was being led by New Zealand authorities.
The Bangladesh cricket team, who is visiting the country for a Test series, were at the mosque for Friday prayers when the shooting started. The players, however, escaped unhurt. They were schedulled to play a Test match at Hagley Oval on Saturday but due to the emergency situation, the match has been cancelled.
An eyewitness at the Al Noor mosque told TV New Zealand taht they saw a gunman shooting indescriminately at worshipers in the mosque. "He came to this side, he shot this side, he went to another room and went to the ladies' section and shot them. I just heard one of the ladies has died," he said.
Locals channels showed a body lying near Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch. The second gunman was seen near Linwood Masjid mosque. The injured were being treated at the Christchurch Hospital that also remains in lockdown until further notice.