49 killed in coordinated terrorist shootings in 2 mosques in New Zealand

Christchurch At least 49 people were killed and 48 others injured after gunmen opened fire in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch Friday, a coordinated and unprecedented attack that has shocked the usually peaceful nation.

Authorities confirmed that 41 people were killed when gunmen stormed the al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue. Eight people died at the Linwood mosque on Linwood Avenue. Christchurch Hospital also confirmed it was treating 48 people for gunshot wounds, ranging from minor to critical. One person died at the hospital.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the incident a terrorist attack, saying the suspects held “extremist views” that have no place in New Zealand or the world.

“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” she said in a press conference Friday afternoon local time.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four people were into custody including three men and one woman. Police do not believe there are any other suspects but said it was still an open investigation.

Two improvised explosive devices were attached to vehicles as part of the attack. These had been “made safe by the defense force,” he said.

The gunman, who was dressed in tactical gear, appeared to livestream video of the shooting on social media, according to New Zealand police, documenting his trip from his vehicle and into the worship center in central Christchurch, where he opened fire indiscriminately.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed one of the suspects was an Australian citizen. The man has been charged with murder and will appear in court Saturday, police said.

Source: International Islamic News Agency