49 people have been confirmed dead and more than 20 injured after shooters opened fire in two mosques in a terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand today. The country’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has described the attack as one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”. New Zealand police confirmed one suspect is currently in custody following the attack.
What happened in New Zealand today?
49 people have died after the mass shootings, it has been confirmed.
Following the shootings, the threat level in the country has been raised from “low” to “high”.
A witness said a man was carrying an automatic rifle when he entered a mosque in Deans Avenue, Christchurch, New Zealand.
A second mosque in the suburb of Linwood has also been evacuated and Police Commissioner Mike Bush said “multiple fatalities” were recorded at two locations.
Mr Bush said it was a “very serious and grave situation” and warned people not to leave their homes.
He said: “Close your doors until you hear from us again.”
A witness told TVNZ of the disturbing scenes inside one of the mosques at the time of the shooting.
He said: “It started in the main room.
“I was in the side room, so I didn’t see who was shooting but I saw that some people were running out to my room where I was in, I saw some people had blood on their body and some people were limping. It was at the moment I realised things were really serious.
“So I tried too get out and I pushed myself at the back where my car was, and from there I heard the shooting, it went on six minutes or more, I could hear screaming and crying, I saw some people drop dead, some people were running away, I was in a wheelchair, so I couldn’t get anywhere.
“He did his massacre inside the mosque.”
Armed police have also been seen at Papanui High School in Christchurch, which has been cordoned off.
Four suspects, three men and a woman, were taken into custody and multiple explosive devices found attached to cars in the city. One person was later released.
According to news outlet PM Breaking News, one of the attackers says he was “motivated to take revenge against foreign invaders in European lands” and was “inspired by Anders Breivik”.
Reports suggest that a bomb had also been located in a car as well as the city’s hospital being on lockdown.
Officials have advised all mosques in Christchurch to shut down until further notice, saying this was an unprecedented act of violence.
A disturbing video taken by one of the shooters has also emerged, which he appears to have live-streamed as he shot victims in a mosque.
The video has been shared thousands of times on Twitter and Police are now calling on the public not to share the “extremely distressing” material online.
Facebook said it had removed the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts as well as any support voiced for that crime.