At Least 49 Killed in Bloodbath at New Zealand Mosques


CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — At the least 49 individuals had been killed in mass shootings at two mosques filled with worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister referred to as “one among New Zealand’s darkest days.”

One man was arrested and charged with homicide in what seemed to be a rigorously deliberate racist assault. Police additionally defused explosive gadgets in a automotive.

Two different armed suspects had been being held in custody. Police mentioned they had been making an attempt to find out how they could be concerned.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mentioned the occasions in Christchurch represented “a rare and unprecedented act of violence,” and that most of the victims could possibly be migrants or refugees.

“It’s clear that this will now solely be described as a terrorist assault,” Ardern mentioned.

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Along with the lifeless, well being officers mentioned 48 individuals had been being handled at Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds. Accidents ranged from minor to essential.

Police took three males and a lady into custody after the shootings, which shocked individuals throughout the nation of 5 million individuals. Police later mentioned one of many arrests didn’t relate to the shootings.

Whereas there was no motive to imagine there have been any extra suspects, Ardern mentioned the nationwide safety risk degree was being raised from low to excessive, the second-highest degree.

Nationwide provider Air New Zealand canceled at the least 17 flights out and in of Christchurch, saying it couldn’t correctly display screen clients and their baggage following the shootings.

Police mentioned the investigation had prolonged 360 kilometers (240 miles) to the south, the place properties in Dunedin had been evacuated round a “location of curiosity.” A police assertion gave no additional element of the way it could be linked to the assaults.

Authorities haven’t specified who they detained, however mentioned none had been on any watch checklist. A person who claimed duty for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto by which he defined who he was and his reasoning for the assault. He mentioned he was a 28-year-old white Australian and a racist.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that one of many individuals detained was an Australian-born citizen.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush mentioned Friday evening {that a} man had been charged with homicide. He didn’t say whether or not police believed the identical shooter was liable for each assaults.

Ardern alluded at a information convention to anti-immigrant sentiment because the doable motive, saying that whereas many individuals affected by the shootings could also be migrants or refugees, “they’ve chosen to make New Zealand their house, and it’s their house. They’re us.”

As for the suspects, Ardern mentioned, “these are individuals who I might describe as having extremist views which have completely no place in New Zealand.”

Bush mentioned police had discovered two improvised explosive gadgets in a single automotive, a clarification from an earlier assertion that there have been gadgets in a number of autos. He mentioned they’d disabled one and had been within the strategy of disabling the second.

The deadliest assault occurred on the Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at about 1:45 p.m., when 41 individuals had been killed.

Witness Len Peneha mentioned he noticed a person wearing black enter the mosque after which heard dozens of photographs, adopted by individuals working from the mosque in terror.

Peneha, who lives subsequent door to the mosque, mentioned the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what seemed to be a semi-automatic weapon in his driveway, and fled. He mentioned he then went into the mosque to attempt to assist.

“I noticed lifeless individuals in all places. There have been three within the hallway, on the door main into the mosque, and folks contained in the mosque,” he mentioned. “I don’t perceive how anybody might do that to those individuals, to anybody. It’s ridiculous.”

He mentioned he helped about 5 individuals get well in his house. He mentioned one was barely injured.

“I’ve lived subsequent door to this mosque for about 5 years and the individuals are nice, they’re very pleasant,” he mentioned. “I simply don’t perceive it.”

He mentioned the gunman was white and was sporting a helmet with some form of system on high, giving him a military-type look.

A video that was apparently livestreamed by the shooter exhibits the assault in horrifying element. The gunman spends greater than two minutes contained in the mosque spraying terrified worshippers with bullets repeatedly, generally re-firing at individuals he has already reduce down.

He then walks exterior to the road, the place he shoots at individuals on the sidewalk. Youngsters’s screams will be heard within the distance as he returns to his automotive to get one other rifle.

The gunman then walks again into the mosque, the place there are at the least two dozen individuals mendacity on the bottom. After strolling again exterior and capturing a lady there, he will get again in his automotive, the place the track “Hearth” by English rock band “The Loopy World of Arthur Brown” will be heard blasting from the audio system. The singer bellows, “I’m the god of hellfire!” and the gunman drives away. The video then cuts out.

Throughout a second capturing on the Linwood mosque about 5 kilometers (three miles) from the Al Noor mosque, seven individuals had been killed.

Another individual died later at Christchurch Hospital.

Mark Nichols instructed the New Zealand Herald he heard about 5 gunshots and {that a} Friday prayer-goer returned fireplace with a rifle or shotgun.

Nichols mentioned he noticed two injured individuals being carried out on stretchers previous his automotive store and that each individuals seemed to be alive.

The police commissioner warned anyone who was considering of going to a mosque wherever in New Zealand on Friday to remain put.

The person who claimed duty for the capturing mentioned he got here to New Zealand solely to plan and prepare for the assault. He mentioned he was not a member of any group, however had donated to and interacted with many nationalist teams, although he acted alone and no group ordered the assault.

He mentioned the mosques in Christchurch and Linwood could be the targets, as would a 3rd mosque within the city of Ashburton if he might make it there.

He mentioned he selected New Zealand due to its location, to point out that even probably the most distant components of the world weren’t freed from “mass immigration.”

New Zealand is usually thought-about to be a welcoming nation for migrants and refugees. Final 12 months, the prime minister introduced the nation would enhance its annual refugee quota from 1,000 to 1,500 beginning in 2020. Ardern, whose social gathering campaigned on the promise of elevating the consumption of refugees, referred to as the deliberate improve “the suitable factor to do.”

David Meates, the chief govt of the Canterbury District Well being Board, mentioned 12 working theaters had been getting used at Christchurch Hospital to deal with the injured and that some sufferers would want a number of surgical procedures. He mentioned about 200 relations had been on the hospital awaiting information of their family members.

Residence to just about 400,000 individuals, Christchurch is the most important metropolis on New Zealand’s South Island. Typically referred to as the backyard metropolis, it has been rebuilding since an earthquake in 2011 killed 185 individuals and destroyed many downtown buildings.

A cricket match between New Zealand and Bangladesh scheduled to start out Saturday was canceled after the Bangladesh cricket crew had a slim escape.

Gamers and members of the crew’s teaching employees had been reportedly on their bus, approaching the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Hagley Park when the capturing broke out.

Batsman Tamim Iqbal tweeted “complete crew bought saved from energetic shooters. Scary expertise and please preserve us in your prayers.”

Mass shootings in New Zealand are uncommon. Earlier than Friday’s assault, the deadliest capturing in trendy historical past occurred within the small city of Aramoana in 1990, when gunman David Grey shot and killed 13 individuals following a dispute with a neighbor.


Perry reported from Wellington. Related Press writers Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, and Chris Blake in Bangkok contributed to this report.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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