Forty people have been killed and several others injured in shootings at two
mosques at Christchurch in New Zealand, Al Jazeera reported today.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news
conference that 20 people were in a serious condition after the “terrorist” attack.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four suspects,
including a woman, were in custody.
Sam Clarke, a reporter with TVNZ, spoke with several people inside the
Masjid Al Noor mosque when the shooting began.
He has told Al Jazeera a man entered with an automatic weapon and began firing.
“A gunman – dressed in black with a helmet carrying a machine gun – came into the
back of the mosque and started firing into the
people praying there,” said Clarke.
Police confirmed a second shooting occurred at the
Linwood mosque during Friday prayers in the South Island city,
but no details were immediately available.
Ardern said: “This is, and will be, one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
Authorities have not described the scale of Friday’s
shootings but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.
New Zealand media reported between nine and 27 people were killed,
but the death toll could not be confirmed.
Police warned worshippers not to visit mosques “anywhere in New Zealand”.
A lockdown imposed throughout Christchurch was called off at about 05:00 GMT.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of the
suspects was an Australian national, calling him an “extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist”.