Terrorist massacre – death toll now 49

Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch.

 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says 40 people have died in the Christchurch shootings.

Ten were killed in Linwood and 30 at the Deans Ave mosque.

Ardern said it was an “unprecedented” situation and described it as a terrorist attack.

She said it was obvious the attacks had been planned for some time.

The National Security Threat Level had been lifted from low to high.

The Defence Force was transporting more police to Christchurch.

Four people are in custody – three men and one woman.

The Police Commissioner Mike Bush said “there have been some absolute acts of bravery” in the arrests of the four attackers.

 A number of IEDs that were attached to vehicles in Christchurch have been defused by the Defence Force.

Bush said there were multiple casualties – a “significant” amount.

“This is absolutely tragic. So many people are affected.

“We don’t have the identities of those who have died yet because those places are in lockdown.”

He said he would not assume there aren’t other attackers.

Bush said he was aware that footage of the Al Noor Mosque shooting was on social media and police were doing everything they could to get it removed.

.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.

A body has been seen lying near Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and a second gunman has been seen near Linwood Masjid mosque.

One of the gunmen broadcast live as he shot victims.

One of the gunmen is believed to be an Australian who has written a manifesto declaring his intentions.

In it, he says “it is a terrorist attack.”

Ardern described the event as “extreme and unprecedented violence”.

Police were “actively managing the situation”.

She will be flying to Wellington where she will speak with agents as soon as she lands.

“I’m not currently in a position to confirm the number of deaths or injuries,” Ardern said.

“This is and will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

Ardern looked to be struggling to keep her emotions in check as she spoke.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has confirmed “multiple fatalities”.

He said there was one person in custody “but we are unsure if there are other people”.

“Again we are unsure if there are any other locations outside of that area.”

“We have mobilised every police resource in the Canterbury location to respond to this and we are also in the process of mobilising every national police resource to keep people safe.”

“I want to ask anyone who was thinking of going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand not to go, to close your doors until you hear from us again.”

The multiple fatalities were at two locations – a mosque at Deans Ave and one at Linwood Ave.

There are reports of a third active shooting unfolding outside Christchurch Hospital.

A Christchurch Star reporter saw a dead body lying close at Palazzo Lane near Al Noor Mosque.

The body has been covered with clothing.

A witness has seen a child lying in the middle of Deans Ave and another man has told the Herald his relative was shot inside the mosque.

It is understood the shooting at the mosque lasted six minutes and that the shooter may have returned to his car to retrieve more ammunition before opening fire again.

A large cordon has blocked off Strickland St around 3km from the Hagley mosque shooting.

A local man said a white van is at the centre of police focus. They believe a bomb is suspected to be inside.

The police bomb disposal unit is at the scene.

A Christchurch woman has reported watching a man being arrested on Harrow Street.

Images captured of the scene show a man being apprehended by a police officer. Two police cars are stationed nearby, blocking off the street.

“I saw people drop dead in front of me.”

A man, who would only be known as Nour, who crawled to safety amid the carnage of the shooting has told Christchurch Star of what happened.

Nour in the front row of prayers when the gunman came in.

“First he shot people outside. Then he came in the front,” he said.

He heard the gun being reloaded about three times.

The gunman began shooting in all directions.

“I saw people drop dead in front of me. I was crawling to get away.”

“It was hitting the walls,” he said.

Nour crawled across the floor of the mosque to a window that had been broken by others as they fled and jumped through it.

He jumped over a neighbouring wall. He ran around the block and he could still hear shooting.

Mohan Ibrahim described to the Herald running for his life to escape the gunman. He was one of 200 people in Christchurch’s Masjid Al Noor mosque when he heard shots being fired.

“At first we thought it was an electric shock but then all these people started running.”

He said there had been lots of people killed and many injured.

“I still have friends inside.

“I have been calling my friends but there are many I haven’t heard from. I am scared for my friends lives.”

He said there had been lots of people killed and many injured.

A man who took in people who escaped from the mosque has shared their description of the gunman.

He was white, aged in his 30s or 40s and wearing a uniform, but he had not been able to ascertain what the uniform was, Oakford Close resident Robert Weatherhead said.

“[They said] ‘he had a lot of magazines strapped to his legs’,” Weatherhead said.

A man who was in Al Noor Mosque during a shooting says it was absolutely full for noon prayers. He believed many have been killed.

 

 

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