Shooting at two mosques in Christchurch kill at least 49 people

At least two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand were hit by gunfire on March 15, 2019. – Mark Baker / AP / SIPA

  • Two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, were hit by gunfire. The attacks left at least 49 dead and around 20 seriously injured.
  • Four people, three men and one woman were arrested, and homemade explosives were found.
  • According to the Australian Prime Minister, the gunman is a 28-year-old Australian, described as a "right-wing extremist terrorist".

"It will remain like one of the darkest days in New Zealand. According to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, forty-nine people were reported to have died, at least, after the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch during prayer on Friday. According to the Australian prime minister, the gunman is a "radical terrorist right and violent".

After arresting a suspect, the police finally announced that four people, three men and one woman, had been arrested. The army defused explosive devices found on the suspects' vehicles had been secured.

Two shootings in two mosques

Two shootings erupted in two busy Christchurch mosques at midday Friday. According to the New Zealand media, a gunman entered the Masjid Al Noor Mosque mosque around 1:40 pm (1:40 am Paris time) and opened fire. "We have a critical incident," the local police confirmed on Twitter on Friday, saying the shooter was still "active."

At the time of the shooting, the Masjid al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue was filled with worshipers, including members of the Bangladesh National Cricket Team. These came out unscathed. A witness told the news website Stuff.co.nz that he was praying there when he heard shots. While running away, he saw his wife dead in front of the religious building. Another man said he saw children being shot. "I had bodies all over me." A witness told Radio New Zealand that he heard gunshots and saw four people lying on the ground, "with blood everywhere".

"An extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence"

Police have asked people not to share "extremely distressing images" after posting a video of a white man filming shooting worshipers at a mosque. "Clearly, what happened is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence." Victims, perhaps migrants or refugees, "have chosen to make New Zealand their country, and this is their country. They are us. The person who committed this violence against us is not, "said New Zealand Premier Jacinda Ardern.

Police demanded that worshipers avoid mosques "all over New Zealand." All the schools in the city had been cordoned off. The police had called "all those present in central Christchurch not to go down the street and report suspicious behavior." Public buildings such as the central library were also closed. New Zealand is famous for its low crime rate. In this country, "the use of firearms to commit crimes remains a rare event," wrote the US State Department in its advice to travelers.



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