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Christchurch shooting: multiple fatalities after mass shooting at two mosques – live updates Christchurch shooting: 40 dead in terrorist attack at two mosques – live updates
(about 2 hours later)
A reporter travelling with the Bangladesh cricket team has told ABC News the players were on their way to the mosque when they heard news of the attack. New Zealand police have conducted a controlled detonation at Auckland’s largest train station, the Britomart Transport Centre.
Christchurch resident Mike has just emerged from lockdown in central Christchurch. The bomb squad attended the station 40 minutes ago, and cordoned off the area. Just minutes ago an explosion was heard. Authorities told local media it was a controlled detonation.
“I am terrifed,” he said. “This is not what New Zealand is about. It’s just crap. I am horrified. This will change how kiwis feel about their home forever.” New Zealanders are beginning to arrive with flowers and tributes as dusk falls on Christchurch.
Authorities have confirmed that the school lockdown has ended. “New Zealand is with you,” said a woman who dropped off lillies. “New Zealand stands by you”.
Police can now confirm the lock down of schools throughout Christchurch has been lifted. We would like to reassure members of the public that there is a large Police presence in the city and the safety of the community is our priority. Hassan, 29, lives behind the mosque on Dale street and was at the Linwood mosque when the shooting began. Hassan heard shooting in the mosque and women screaming “don’t come here” at the shooters. Police came within 5 to 10 minutes.
Arrangements through the Australian and New Zealand counter-terrorism committee have been activated, according to Queensland police. The shooter was screaming, waving the gun around wildly and firing it in every direction. He then left the mosque. Hassan is from Sri Lanka and has lived in New Zealand for 6 months. He came to New Zealand for work and opportunities.
They say there is “no credible intelligence of any attack imminent or otherwise in Queensland” but added they have activated all their current counter-terrorism capabilities. “I thought New Zealand was a safe, peaceful country for everyone. I came here because I knew there were no wars. Police told me ‘I am sorry, this is the first time this has ever in this country.’ I don’t know who is dead or alive. I am waiting.”
National arrangements through the Australian and New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee have been activated. Queensland Police are being kept briefed on the situation in New Zealand as it unfolds. #Christchurch New Zealand’s threat level has been raised from low to high, Ardern confirms.
There is no credible intelligence of any attack imminent or otherwise in Queensland. #Christchurch Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, has issued a statement:
We are maintaining a high level of vigilance and have activated all of our current counter-terrorism capabilities - including engaging with all of our communities & minority groups across Qld to ensure they are safe & are kept safe. #Christchurch Shocked and strongly condemn the Christchurch, New Zealand, terrorist attack on mosques. This reaffirms what we have always maintained: that terrorism does not have a religion. Prayers go to the victims and their families.
We are in a probable threat environment. The community should remain vigilant. If it doesn't add up, speak up. The National Security Hotline is 1800 123 400. #Christchurch And the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan:
We also know that at times like this there is heightened concern in certain communities for backlash, negative comment and for perhaps even assaults. We ask all of Queensland to be alert to this & report any of these incidents. #Christchurch I strongly condemn the terror attack against the Al Noor Mosque in #NewZealand and Muslim worshippers. May Allah have mercy on the victims and grant a speedy recovery to the wounded.
At times like these, even a throw away remark or a stupid remark can escalate out of control. We need to make sure that doesn't happen and I'd ask everyone to treat each other with respect and dignity during this time: @CoPStewart #Christchurch “This is not who we are. This act was not a reflection of who we are as a nation,” Ardern says. “It will take time to heal and tonight our thoughts and our prayers need to be with those affected.”
The Los Angeles police department is providing extra patrols around mosques “out of an abundance of caution”. Of the confirmed 40 people killed, 30 were killed at Al Noor mosque and 10 killed at Linwood mosque. That 10 figure includes three people who were outside Linwood Avenue mosque at the time.
The LAPD is monitoring the horrific events unfolding in Christchurch, New Zealand. While this attack appears to be an isolated incident with no nexus to LA, out of an abundance of caution we’re providing extra patrols around mosques. Our thoughts & prayers are with all affected. Ardern says none of the suspects were on security or terrorism watchlists.
A few more lines from the press conference from police commissioner Mike Bush. Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand was “chosen for this act of violence” because it is an example of multiculturalism, diversity and acceptance.
Bush was asked about the video that is circulating online, which purports to show the attack from the perspective of the shooter. This video is very graphic and unverified and Bush said police were doing everything in their power to get the video taken down from the website: “It’s very disturbing, it shouldn’t be in the public domain,” he said. “We New Zealanders were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone this racism, or because we are an enclave of extremism, we were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things,” she said.
He also said: “Let’s not assume the danger is gone” and said he couldn’t discuss whether the four people who were arrested were known to police. “That detail will unfold in the next few days.” “I want to send a message to those directly affected...For many this may have not been the place they were born. For many New Zealand was their choice, a place they actively came to and committed themselves was a place where many came to for their safety. A place where it was safe to practice their culture and religion.
More reaction from Australian politicians: “We represent diversity and compassion, a home for those who share our values, a refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and can not be shaken by this attack. We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities and 160 languages.”
Labor utterly condemns the horrific attack in #Christchurch. As we always have, Australia stands with our New Zealand friends at this terribletime. You are all in our hearts today. She issues “the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this”.
To our friends in New Zealand, and all those in Australia with friends and family in NZ, we send our love and solidarity today. A terrible tragedy. “You may have chosen us but we utterly reject and condemn you.”
A Malaysian was among those wounded during a shooting at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, Malaysia’s high commission in New Zealand said on Friday. “This can only be described as a terrorist attack,” Ardern says.
“So far, one Malaysian is confirmed injured and currently receiving treatment at the hospital,” the commission said on its Twitter account. “While we do not have anything to believe at this stage that there were any other suspects, we are not assuming that at this stage”.
Multiple fatalities were inflicted when at least one gunman opened fire on worshippers at the mosques. New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed 40 people have died in today’s shooting, with 20 injured.
Australians are appalled by the horrific shooting in Christchurch. Targeting people in a place of worship is abhorrent and an affront to all. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. Morrison has more comments, saying Australian police are now investigating.
The police did not confirm how many people were killed in the attacks. We are still waiting for official confirmation of the death toll, though Jacinda Ardern said today would go down as one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”. “[One shooter] is an Australian born citizen. That obviously leads to an Australia-based investigation.”
Bush says police are not assuming the violence is confined to Christchurch, but they have no reason to believe there may be attacks in other countries. He warns that they can’t be too careful. “There is no information to suggest any Australians have been killed in this terrorist attack, but it is very early on,” he said.
Bush says he can confirm there were several IEDs attached to cars that have been made safe now. 15-year-old schoolgirl Kerry is stuck by the cordon and can’t get home. She is feeling tired, exhausted and hungry.
“This speaks to the seriousness of what occurred,” he says. “I am feeling sad about this, why do people have to do this? We moved here from South Africa to be safer. And stuff like this happens in South Africa.”
The attackers were apprehended by local police, and Bush says he is “absolutely proud” of the officers who were involved. “Why does this happen to people innocently praying?” she asks.
Mike Bush has confirmed that four people are in custody, and things are moving very quickly. Kerry lives behind the mosque. People jumped into her street to escape, running from the bullets. “I am so sorry,” Kerry says to victims waiting for their family. “I am so so sorry.”
He will not confirm if it is a terrorist attack, but says “it does not get more serious than this”. Mohammed was in the mosque when the shooting started. 400 people were gathered for Friday prayer. The shooting started at 1.45pm.
Bush says this is “absolutely tragic and there will be so many people affected”. He says they will set up a facility so that families of the victims can get the information they need, but they don’t have the identities of the victims yet, because of the lockdown. Mohammed heard shooting and screaming and thought something had blown up in the kitchen. Mohammed grabbed his nephew and ran for the back exit. Mohammed’s nephew, aged 33, is still inside, uninjured. He has had no food or water.
New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush is speaking now. “I am happy that I am alive. I am new to New Zealand and at the mosque you find your friends and family. They are after the Muslims. They only see religion.”
The mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel, is speaking to ABC news at the moment. Police have given no indication when the remaining people inside the mosque will be released. A small group of Christchurch residents have gathered to support the victims as they wait for their families.
This has been a shock, a shock to a city that has been through so much already. I’m shocked beyond words. I cannot think of the right words to say. “I am so sorry this happened to you in our country, this should never happened,” one said.
The police are doing absolutely everything they can ... and they are seeking to get the matter under control and as soon as they are in a position to get the situation under control, we will end the lockdown of our facilities. Mohammed says he feels very afraid in New Zealand. “We are not safe anymore, where are we safe now?”
This has come as a bolt from the blue ... It just feels like it’s not what would happen in a place like New Zealand. I condemn the violent, extremist, right-wing terrorist attack that has stolen the lives of so many innocent New Zealanders as they went about their peaceful practice of worship at their mosques in Christchurch today.
Deputy prime minister of New Zealand Winston Peters has tweeted it is “an awfully, awfully sad day”. Morrison also condemned the shooting as “a right-wing extremist attack” and offered his support to Muslims.
This is an awfully, awfully, sad day for New Zealand. There are lessons here from which we must all learn. “I particularly want to express my sincere prayers and thoughts to those New Zealanders and Australians of Islamic faith today, who have been the victims of this callous right-wing extremist attack,” he said.
The co-leader of the New Zealand Greens, James Shaw, who was in the news yesterday after he was the victim of a physical attack at the Botanic Gardens in Wellington, has tweeted about the shootings, which he calls “horrendous”. “As family members with our New Zealand cousins today, we grieve, we are shocked, we are appalled, we are outraged, and we stand here and condemn absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist right wing violent terrorist.”
This is horrendous. My thoughts are with the Muslim community and the people of Christchurch. Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, has just confirmed that the shooter who was taken into custody was an “Australian-born citizen”.
A reminder of what’s going on at the moment. He says Australian authorities are now involved in investigations as a result of this.
Jacinda Ardern has flown to Wellington for a crisis meeting of national security agencies. She has said she will do another press conference after that meeting. The American Muslim civil rights group Muslim Advocates has released this statement:
We are also waiting for an official briefing from the police at 5:30pm local time (about 10 minutes) in which we should get more information. “Over the past few years, there has been an epidemic of attacks and planned attacks on Muslim communities and mosques across the United States...the American Muslim community has faced deadly attacks in recent years, but rarely have we witnessed such brutal carnage as today’s tragedy in New Zealand.”
Central Christchurch is still under lockdown, including schools, and people have been warned not to leave their homes, and for parents not to try to retrieve their children from school, they will be looked after by teachers and staff. We have spoken with @Google, @Twitter and @facebook and urged them to remove the video of the New Zealand attacks. If you see it, report it so they can take it down.
Police have also warned people across the entire country not to go to any mosques until police tell them it is safe, saying: “Close your doors”. One of the passengers told their flight to Christchurch is cancelled says “It’s ok. Think of all the poor people in Christchurch who are coping with family members not coming home.”