49 killed at mosques in 'one of New Zealand's darkest days'

Geraldine Edwards
March 17, 2019

Bush confirmed one man in his late 20s has been charged with murder and will appear in Christchurch court tomorrow morning.

At least one gunman killed 49 people during Friday prayers at two New Zealand mosques in the country's worst ever mass shooting.

Two IEDs (improvised explosive devices) were also found and neutralized by the military, police said.

Ms Ardern said the events in Christchurch represented "an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence" and acknowledged many of those affected may be migrants and refugees.

In a press conference, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the attack as "one of New Zealand's darkest days". One of the men was later charged with murder, and two others remained in custody, though their role in the attacks was not clear.

Two others were also arrested in possession of firearms and police are still trying to understand their involvement, Bush said.

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48 people were taken to Christchurch hospital, and 20 of them were in a critical condition. "I think we've had a long tenure of political stability over the last ten or so years." he said.

A spokesman for New Zealand's interior ministry said the video is likely to be classified as objectionable content under local law, and could be illegal to share.

Kate said: "It's utterly cowardly, but it points to a horrific bravado that they would do that and I think it is just disgusting".

The news has taken over worldwide media with broadcasters including CNN, BBC and CNBC going live to New Zealand - the worst shooting attack to ever take place in the country.

The Pittsburgh synagogue attack prompted an outpouring of interfaith solidarity between Muslims and Jews at the time, with the SAJBD statement - one of several from Jewish organisations so far - showing that the Queensland mosque attack has inspired the same.

Attacks on places of worship in the last few years have fueled fears of the rise of this form of terrorism. "Not in New Zealand".

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All mosques across the country have been urged to shut their doors, and people have been advised to refrain from visiting these premises until further notice.

Bangladesh's cricket team - in town for a match - narrowly avoided the attack as they approached the mosque to perform weekly Friday prayers, the team's coach told media.

The Muslim worshippers had congregated for Friday prayers, Islam's holy day of the week.

Asked about the attackers not being on intelligence agency watchlists, she says it is an indication they "had not acted in a way that warranted it".

At least 49 people were killed and 50 others were injured during the rampage.

While there was no reason to believe there were any more suspects, the prime minister said the national threat level was raised from low to high.

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"The NYPD sees no New York City connection to the tragedy in New Zealand at this time, but we nevertheless stand prepared to protect the people in all of our communities", NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill added.

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