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49 People Killed In Mosque Attacks In New Zealand

by : Francesca Donovan on : 15 Mar 2019 07:43
new zealand shootingnew zealand shootingPA

Forty-nine people have been killed and more than 20 seriously wounded in mosque attacks in New Zealand.

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The shootings, which took place at around 1:40pm on Thursday 15 March at two mosques in Christchurch, have been described by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as one of the country’s ‘darkest days’.

Authorities are calling it an unprecedented act of violence.

Witnesses told local media survivors ran for their lives past people bleeding on the ground outside the Al Noor mosque, in the centre of the city located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

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The first report of an attack came from this mosque, which is opposite Hagley Park, and most details have come so far from eye-witnesses.

The attacker reportedly targeted the men’s prayer room in the mosque, then moved to the women’s room.

People wait outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Many people were killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, a witness said. Police have not yet described the scale of the shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)People wait outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Many people were killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, a witness said. Police have not yet described the scale of the shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)PA

One witness told TV New Zealand, per the BBC:

What I did was basically just waiting and praying, God please, let this guy run out of bullets.

He came to this side, he shot this side, he went to another room and went to the ladies’ section and shot them.

I just heard one of the ladies has died.

A Palestinian man, who did not wish to be named, told AFP:

I heard three quick shots, then after about 10 seconds it started again – it must have been an automatic, no one could pull a trigger that quick.

Then people started running out. Some were covered in blood.

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An armed police officer watches as a man is taken by ambulance staff from a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers, as New Zealand police warned people to stay indoors as they tried to determine if more than one gunman was involved. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)An armed police officer watches as a man is taken by ambulance staff from a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers, as New Zealand police warned people to stay indoors as they tried to determine if more than one gunman was involved. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)PA

Footage taken by one shooter has emerged, which he appears to have live-streamed as he shot victims in one of the mosques. Police said the public should not share the ‘extremely distressing’ material online.

Facebook has removed the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

A second mosque in Christchurch, in the suburb of Linwood has been evacuated, and Police Commissioner Mike Bush said ‘multiple fatalities’ were recorded at two locations.

Authorities said they had also stopped ‘a number’ of explosive devices ‘attached to vehicles’.

All mosques in the city have been advised to shut down until further notice. Armed police have also been seen at Papanui High School in Christchurch, which is cordoned off.

Three men and one woman are in custody, Bush has confirmed, but warned more suspects may be at large. It is not yet known how many shooters were involved in the atrocity.

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Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of those arrested was an Australian citizen.

He described the suspected attacker as an ‘extremist right-wing violent terrorist’, who is believed to have written a manifesto outlining his intentions.

In it, he utilises far right and anti-immigrant ideology.

Multiple casualties have been brought to Christchurch Hospital. The latest death toll is 49.

There is a heavy police presence on site of the hospital.

Police have also cleared Cathedral Square, where thousands of children had been holding a rally for action on climate change.

March 15, 2019 - Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand - Armed police seal off street to Masjid Al Noor mosque, one of two mosques where gunmen attacked and more than 40 people are dead and injured. Four people have been arrested and several bombs were found following the shootings. March 15, 2019 - Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand - Armed police seal off street to Masjid Al Noor mosque, one of two mosques where gunmen attacked and more than 40 people are dead and injured. Four people have been arrested and several bombs were found following the shootings. PA

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said:

Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high.

Police recommend that residents across Christchurch remain off the streets and indoors until further notice.

Our thoughts are with all affected.

If you’re concerned and need to contact a friend or relative please visit the International Committee of the Red Cross, who have set up a website by which you can restore links and register your own safety.

Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.

Topics: News

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BBC
  1. BBC

    Christchurch mosque shootings: Forty dead after New Zealand attacks