A gunman on Friday morning opened fire at two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch area. At least 40 people were killed and 20 injured in the Christchurch mosques shooting. The number is significant, New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush said.
The police have arrested three men and one woman on the suspicion of them being involved in the New Zealand mosques shooting.
Armed police in New Zealand swarmed central Christchurch amid reports of a shooting at a mosque in the South Island city. Local media said there were multiple casualties at one mosque and said another had been evacuated. The police advised people to stay indoors and avoid visiting mosques.
What we know so far
A gunman, wearing military-style clothing, burst into the Chirstchurch mosque as worshippers were kneeling for prayers and opened fire at around 1.40 pm local time, causing multiple casualties.
One man who said he was at the Al Noor mosque told media the gunman was white, blond and wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest.
Police commissioner Mike Bush said all schools in the city had been placed in lockdown in response to “a serious ongoing firearms incident”.
Bush said that multiple improved explosive devices were attached to the vehicle. The explosives have been defused.
The gunman is said to have livestreamed the shooting on social media which continued for over 15 minutes.
All the mosques in the country have been asked to shut their doors, New Zealand police said.
The lockdown put in place after deadly armed assaults on two Christchurch mosques has now been lifted, allowing frantic parents to pick up their children.
The gunman who killed numerous worshippers in a New Zealand mosque on Friday was a right-wing extremist with Australian citizenship, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
The attacker had reportedly posted an anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim manifesto before carrying out the attack.
Eyewitnesses recount mosques shooting horror
One of the eyewitnesses to the New Zealand mosques shooting told the Reuters that he and some other people escaped one of the mosques after breaking the glass window.
“He had a big gun, he came and started shooting everyone in the mosque, everywhere,” Ahmad Al-Mahmoud said.
A Palestinian man in the mosque, who did not want to give his name, said he saw a man shot in the head. “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,” he said.
Another man said that he saw the accused shooting children. “There were bodies all over me,” he said.
An eyewitness said, “Then people started running out. Some were covered in blood.”