- 15 Mar 19
Shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand have killed forty-nine people and seriously injured at least twenty in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says "can now only be described as a terrorist attack."
In what is the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand's history, two mosques, Masjid Al Noor in central Christchurch and Linwood Masjid Mosque, located in an eastern suburb, were horrifically attacked during afternoon prayers. A man in his late twenties has been charged with the murder, and two other men and one woman have been detained, although their specific connection to the attacks has not been clarified. One alleged gunmen appears to have Australian citizenship and has been described by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as an "extremist, right-wing" terrorist.
The gunman live-streamed footage of the attack inside the Al-Noor mosque on Facebook. The footage has been circulated online, though the New Zealand Police have urged people not to view or share the distressing footage. The suspect, whose identity has not been officially confirmed, appears to have posted white supremacist, anti-immigrant manifestos, idolizing Neo-Nazis and previous extreme right-wing shooters, onto Twitter and online forums.
The Canterbury District Health board has stated that 48 patients, including children and adults, are being treated at Christchurch hospital for injuries resulting from the attacks. Several members of Bangladesh's cricket team, who were in New Zealand for a match, were en route to Masjid al Noor mosque when the shooting began. Member of the team Tamim Iqbal Khan tweeted this in response to the attacks:
Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack
— Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28) March 15, 2019
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded to the terrifying attacks on Twitter:
What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us.
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) March 15, 2019