Forty-nine people were killed and more than 20 were seriously injured in shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday. The mass shootings took place at Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue near Hagley Park in the center of the city, and at Linwood Mosque, about three miles away from the downtown mosque.
The attacks began at about 1:40 p.m. after the midday Friday prayer. Many of the victims were most probably migrants or refugees to New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calling the situation “very serious and grave,” labeled it as a well-planned “terrorist attack”. “This is our darkest day. It was an unprecedented act of violence,” he added.
Public buildings as well as the Christchurch Hospital, were urged to be on lockdown on Friday afternoon post attacks. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush advised people not to visit mosques anywhere in New Zealand on Friday and to stay away from the mosques until any further notice.
Officials said that four people, including three men and one woman, had been taken into custody. A number of extemporized explosive devices were found attached to the vehicles used by suspects and have been deactivated.
A 17-minute video and manifesto posted on social media on the day of the attack appeared to be by a gunman involved in the shooting, showing part of the attack. “We are working to have the circulating footage removed from the social media sites,” said police.