Forty people have been killed and four people are in custody after attackers opened fire during Friday prayers at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
Here’s what we know so far:
– Thirty people were killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch, seven were killed inside the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque, and three died outside the same mosque.
– Migrants and refugees appeared to be most affected by the shootings.
– At least 20 others have been seriously injured.
– Four people, three men and one woman, are in custody over the attacks.
– New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the national security threat level has been lifted from low to high, adding the shootings appeared to have been a well-planned “terrorist attack”. She described it as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.
The person who has committed this violent act has no place here. To those in Christchurch; I encourage you to stay inside and follow the instructions of @nzpolice. The Police Commissioner will be making a public statement at 5pm. I will update everyone again later this evening.— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) March 15, 2019
– One of the attackers – Brenton Tarrant – appears to have live-streamed the attack on Facebook as he shot victims in a mosque. Police have urged the public not to share the “extremely distressing” material online.
– The 28-year-old Australian described his anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto.
– Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of those arrested was an Australian citizen and described the suspected attacker as an “extremist right-wing violent terrorist”.
Out of respect and in condolence for all those killed in the terrorist attack in New Zealand, I have asked for flags to be flown at half-mast. pic.twitter.com/0qgIrmdgoH— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) March 15, 2019
– Police have warned there may be more suspects.
– A number of improvised explosive devices found on vehicles after the shootings have been defused by police.
– Officers first received reports of shots fired in central Christchurch at about 1.40pm local time (12.40am GMT).
– All schools in Christchurch were put on lockdown and mosques told to shut their doors.
- Press Association