– Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of the suspects was an Australian national, calling him an “extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.”
– One of the gunmen shared a livestream of the attack on Facebook and posted content on Instagram. Facebook said it has taken down the video and was removing praise for the gunman.
– New Zealand media reported between nine and 27 Muslim worshipers were killed. Some foreign media said 40 Muslim lost their lives in the coordinated mass shootingsr but Muslim News Nigeria could not confirmed the actual death toll as at the time of filling this report.
– Police warned worshippers not to visit mosques “anywhere in New Zealand.”
Terrorists entered two Muslim places of worship – Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Masjid – and began shooting in New Zealand’s city of Christchurch on Friday with police saying there were many dead – an unprecedented attack in the quiet country in the Pacific.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said four suspects were in custody – three men and a woman – but added: “Let’s not presume the danger is gone.”
Bush said there were “significant” and “multiple” fatalities.
Sam Clarke, a reporter with TVNZ, spoke with several people inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque when the shooting began. He told Al Jazeera a man entered with an automatic weapon and began firing.
“A gunman – dressed in black with a helmet carrying a machine gun – came into the back of the mosque and started firing into the people praying there,” said Clarke.
Police confirmed a second shooting occurred at the Linwood mosque during Friday prayers in the South Island city, but no details were immediately available.
“We’re dealing with an evolving situation across multiple sites,” New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference. “This is, and will be, one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
Authorities have not described the scale of Friday’s shootings but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors. New Zealand media reported between nine and 27 people were killed, but the death toll could not be confirmed.
Police warned worshippers not to visit mosques “anywhere in New Zealand”. A lockdown imposed throughout Christchurch was called off at about 05:00 GMT.
ESPN Cricinfo reporter Mohammed Isam said members of the Bangladesh cricket team, who are set to play a test match in Christchurch on Saturday, escaped from the mosque.
Mario Villavarayen, strength and conditioning coach of the Bangladesh cricket team, was quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying the team was close to where the shooting occurred, but was safe.
“The players are shaken up but fine,” Villavarayen was quoted as saying.
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