- In a firearm attack on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, according to local media, at least nine people have been killed.
- Dozens of people are said to have been injured.
- The New Zealand police have arrested four suspects and police found explosives on their cars.
- Videos of the offense, which apparently come from the perpetrators, circulated after the fact in the net.
At least one gunman opened the fire in a mosque in the New Zealand town of Christchurch, killing several people and injuring others. New Zealand media reported at least nine deaths. Later even a "significant number" of deaths was mentioned. Shots also fell in another mosque in the city. This was confirmed by the police on Friday. Meanwhile, four suspects were arrested, three men and one woman. On their vehicles, the police found explosives, these were defused by the army.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern strongly condemned the attack. In a brief statement, the Social Democratic politician spoke of one of the "darkest days" in the history of her country. For such a thing there is "no place in New Zealand". At the same time she expressed her condolences to the families of the victims. "New Zealand is their home, they should have felt safe here." She called "anti-immigrant views" as a possible motive for the act. One of the alleged perpetrators is said to have published a radical right-wing manifesto announcing his plan.
Offender streamed the act live on Facebook
The emergency services had arrived with a large contingent, the security risk on the ground had been "extremely high". All schools in Christchurch were cordoned off and people in the city center were told not to go out on the streets. The police also appealed to the Muslims of New Zealand to stay at home. Under no circumstances should anyone in the country go to a mosque now, "a police spokesman said, and the city's schools were released early in the evening (local time).
The former president of the local Muslim Association claimed to be in one of the mosques at the time of the crime and told the online news portal "Stuff" he had seen at least four injured. Two people were lying on the ground and may be dead. It was initially unclear how many people were in the mosques at the time of the crime and whether the shots fell during the traditional Friday prayers. In at least one of the cases, the offender should have filmed his attack and streamed live on Facebook. Videos that show the fact circulated on Friday morning in the network.
Christchurch is in shock
Another eyewitness said he saw a man dressed in black walking into the Masjid al-Noor mosque, then he heard dozens of shots and people ran out of the mosque in panic. The attacker had fled before forces reached the place. He then went to the mosque to help: "I've seen dead people everywhere."
After the armed raid, the city government barricaded all government buildings on Friday. In addition to schools, the city hall, the municipal library and museums were closed. Mayor Lianne Dalziel appealed to the approximately 350 000 inhabitants to avoid the city center and stay at home. Dalziel said, "Everyone is shocked, I never thought anything like this could happen here."