New Zealand shooting: 40 killed in attacks on two mosques in Christchurch – latest news

Forty people have been killed and more than 20  others have been seriously injured at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch after at least one gunman opened fire on worshipers. 

The man, who identified himself as 28-year-old Australian-born Brenton Tarrant filmed the attack on social media. Dressed in a military-style, camouflage outfit, and carrying an automatic rifle he started randomly shooting people in the Al Noor mosque shortly after 1.40pm local time (12.40am GMT).

Tarrant, who filmed himself attacking a Christchurch mosque in a Facebook Live video, posted a 74-page manifesto in which he claims to be from a “working class, low income family”.

He said he was of Scottish, Irish and English stock and moved to New Zealand temporarily to plan and train and then stayed there after deciding to conduct the attack.

“I have read the writings of Dylann Roof and many others, but only really took true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik,” he wrote.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police had also defused a number of improvised explosive devices found on vehicles after the mosque shootings.

Mr Bush confirmed police now have four suspects in custody – three men and one woman. New Zealand’s Prime Minister said the suspects held extremist views, but had not been on any police watchlists.

Mr Bush warned it was not possible to assume that the attack was isolated to Christchurch, saying: “At this point in time we should never make assumptions.”

New Zealand had been placed on its highest security threat level. 

Armed police push back members of the public following a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand

Armed police push back members of the public following a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand

Credit:
MARTIN HUNTER/PA

A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was and his reasoning for his actions. He said he considered it a terrorist attack.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there was no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme 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,” Ardern said.

“They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”

“They should have been in a safe environment,” she said.

Police have asked all mosques across the country to close their doors today,  advising people to stay away from them.

The Bangladesh cricket team which were in Christchurch to play New Zealand in a third cricket on Saturday was arriving for prayers at the mosque when the shooting occurred but all members were  reported safe.

“They were on the bus, which was just pulling up to the mosque when the shooting begun,” Mario Villavarayen, strength and conditioning coach of the Bangladesh cricket team said.

“They are shaken but good.”

The teams later announced the test would be cancelled. 

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7:18AM

Jeremy Hunt offers condolences to New Zealand friends

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Our hearts go out to the people of New Zealand following the news of this terrible act in Christchurch.

” NZ is one of the most peaceful, peace-loving and generous nations in the world.

“Your friends in the UK stand with you today in deepest sympathy.”

6:57AM

Image of mosque gunman

 This still image taken from a video which goes on to show first-person footage from the first mosque shooting, purports to show the gunman on his way to carry out the attack. 

A still image taken from video circulated on social media, apparently taken by a gunman and posted online live as the attack unfolded

A still image taken from video circulated on social media, apparently taken by a gunman and posted online live as the attack unfolded

Credit:
Reuters

6:43AM

Suspects were not on any terror watchlist

Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand had been placed on its highest security threat level.

She said the four people in police custody held extremist views, but had not been on any police watchlists.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaking on live television following the attacks in Christchurch 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaking on live television following the attacks in Christchurch 

Credit:
Reuters

Speaking during a press conference Ardern said: “I think we should be vigilant against the idea of extreme ideology and extreme violence and violent acts.”

She added: “You’ll notice from the language that you hear from those who work in our intelligence and security services that their focus is on extremism regardless of where it comes from.

“We need to be blind in that regard. It needs to be absolutely focused on threat and ideology and extremism, because obviously that is what we have experienced here today.”

6:33AM

New Zealand PM says 40 dead in terror attack

New Zealand’s Prime Minister says 40 people were killed and another 20 have been seriously injured in the Christchurch mosque attacks.

She described the attack as “well planned terror attacks”

6:27AM

“It was 1.42pm and the guns started shooting”

 Eyewitnesses describe the moment the first mosque was attacked:

6:05AM

One Christchurch shooting suspect is Australian

One of four people detained in New Zealand after today’s mass shootings in Christchurch is Australian, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“I can confirm that the individual who was taken into custody I have been advised is an Australian-born citizen,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“As family members with our New Zealand cousins today, we grieve, we are shocked, we are appalled, we are outraged, and we stand here and condemn absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.”

5:39AM

New Zealand mosques asked to close

Police have asked all mosques across the country to shut their doors today after the devastating attacks in Christchurch.

Three men and one woman are now confirmed to be in police custody, however police have said they are not assuming the incident is contained. 

5:17AM

Gunman reportedly streamed live video of attack 

 A Facebook Live video that shows a clean-shaven, Caucasian man with short hair driving to a mosque, then shooting as he enters the building was circulating online after the attacks.

The gunman continues to shoot at people inside the mosque, some of whom were trying to flee while others were huddled in corners of the building, according to the copy of the video that AFP found on YouTube.

AFP confirmed the video was genuine through a digital investigation that included matching screenshots of the mosque taken from the gunman’s footage with multiple images available online showing the same areas.

Facebook has since suspended the account that posted the video and condemned the attack.

5:01AM

Lockdown lifted after Christchurch mosque attacks

New Zealand police on Friday lifted a lockdown put in place after deadly armed assaults on two Christchurch mosques, allowing frantic parents to pick up their children.

“Police can now confirm the lock down of schools throughout Christchurch has been lifted,” New Zealand Police said in a statement.

4:39AM

Four in custody as police discover IEDs in attack

New Zealand police say 3 men and 1 woman are now in custody over shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.

Police have also confirmed they found and secured IEDs amid the attacks.

4:32AM

New Zealand v Bangladesh cricket Test cancelled

New Zealand and Bangladesh have cancelled the third cricket Test after the Bangladeshi team were caught up in one of the mosque shootings.

“A joint decision between NZC and the @BCBtigers has been made to cancel the Hagley Oval Test,” the New Zealand team tweeted, adding that all players and officials were safe.

The third and final Test was scheduled to start on Saturday at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval. New Zealand won the first two games in the series.

Bangladeshi players and team staff arrived at the city’s Masjid al Noor for Friday prayers as a shooting unfolded and were warned not to go inside.

4:26AM

‘Extremely distressing’ footage of attack

New Zealand police warned that “extremely distressing footage” existed relating to a deadly mosque shooting in Christchurch on Friday, and urged that it not be shared.

“Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online,” New Zealand police said in a Twitter post.

“We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.”

4:17AM

Schools remain on lockdown

New Zealand police have reminded parents that all schools in Christchurch remain on lockdown, and will only communicate with police at this stage. 

Parents were assured that children are being cared for by schools, and “the safety of the community is our priority”.

4:09AM

Witness describes scene inside mosque

Witness Mohan Ibrahim said he was one of 200 people in the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue when he heard shots fired.

He told the New Zealand Herald: “At first we thought it was an electric shock but then all these people started running.”

“I still have friends inside,” he added.

“I have been calling my friends but there are many I haven’t heard from. I am scared for my friends’ lives.”

Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch

Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch

Credit:
MARK BAKER/AP

3:54AM

New Zealand Prime Minister stands with migrants

A solemn Jacinda Ardern called Friday’s attack “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” calling migrants that have chosen New Zealand as their home “us”.

“Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here,” Ardern said.

“They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”

“They should have been in a safe environment,” she said.

3:28AM

Police mobilising resources across country in response to ‘tragic incident’

3:21AM

New Zealand Prime Minister says may be ‘other offenders’ 

Jacinda Ardern says there may be ‘other offenders’ in Christchurch shootings as the Prime Minister calls this ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’.

3:10AM

Police confirm fatalities at two locations

New Zealand police have confirmed ‘multiple fatalities’ at two locations in Christchurch. 

Police said they have one person in custody, but do not know at this stage if there are more suspects on the loose,

Police have warned worshippers not to visit mosques ‘anywhere in New Zealand’. 

3:04AM

Witness describes seeing multiple people dead or injured inside mosque

Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at about 1:45 p.m. and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.

Mr Peneha, who lives next door to the mosque, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in Peneha’s driveway, and fled.

Mr Peneha said he then went into the mosque to try and help.

“I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque,” he said. “It’s unbelievable nutty. I don’t understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It’s ridiculous.”

He said he helped about five people recover in his home. He said one was slightly injured.

“I’ve lived next door to this mosque for about five years and the people are great, they’re very friendly,” he said. “I just don’t understand it.”

He said the gunman was white and was wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top, giving him a military-type appearance.

2:55AM

Mass climate change rally for children taking place nearby attack

The city council is offering a helpline for parents looking for children attending a mass climate change rally nearby the shooting.

“Please do not try and come and collect your children until police say it is safe for people to come into the central city,” they said.

2:45AM

New Zealand media reporting shooting at a second Christchurch mosque

New Zealand media say a shooting has occurred in a second mosque in the city of Christchurch.

No details were immediately available.

Earlier Friday afternoon, police had urged people to stay indoors as authorities responded to a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque.

A neighbor described mass casualties inside the mosque and said he saw the gunman flee.

2:36AM

Bangladeshi cricket team tweet they are safe

 Bangladeshi cricketer Mushfiqur Rahim  has tweeted to say he and his teammates who were in the mosque during the shooting are safe. 

He wrote: Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque…we r extremely lucky…never want to see this things happen again….pray for us

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