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Christchurch shooting: 40 dead in terrorist attack at two mosques – live updates Christchurch shooting: 40 dead in terrorist attack at two mosques – live updates
(30 minutes later)
Forty people been killed and 20 injured in a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, which occurred during afternoon prayers.
Three people – one of them an Australian-born man – are in custody.
It was described as “a terrorist attack” by NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern, and an “extremist, right-wing violent terrorist [attack]” by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison.
Christchurch remains on lockdown.
Ardern said: “Many directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here...They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”
The attacker is believed to have livestreamed at least one of the attacks. Police urged people not to share the “distressing” footage, which many Australian news outlets ignored.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK said they were not aware of any Britons caught up in the attack, writes Nadeem Badshah.
A spokesman said no Britons have come to our attention.
Flags will be at half-mast in Australia today, and buildings in Melbourne will be lit up in tribute, according to the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews.
Out of respect and in condolence for all those killed in the terrorist attack in New Zealand, I have asked for flags to be flown at half-mast. pic.twitter.com/0qgIrmdgoH
Melbourne's buildings will be lit up in New Zealand colours tonight in solidarity, and flags will be flown at half-mast tomorrow as a sign of respect.
The UK foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, also issued a message:
Our hearts go out to the people of New Zealand following the news of this terrible act in Christchurch. NZ is one of the most peaceful, peace-loving and generous nations in the world. Your friends in the UK stand with you today in deepest sympathy.
Another update from that earlier Ardern press conference – the number of people in custody is currently three. Earlier in the day, police said they had four people in custody. There was no further information provided as to why that number changed.
New Zealand police have conducted a controlled detonation at Auckland’s largest train station, the Britomart Transport Centre.New Zealand police have conducted a controlled detonation at Auckland’s largest train station, the Britomart Transport Centre.
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.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.
New Zealanders are beginning to arrive with flowers and tributes as dusk falls on Christchurch.New Zealanders are beginning to arrive with flowers and tributes as dusk falls on Christchurch.
“New Zealand is with you,” said a woman who dropped off lillies. “New Zealand stands by you”.“New Zealand is with you,” said a woman who dropped off lillies. “New Zealand stands by you”.
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.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.
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.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.
“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.”“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.”
New Zealand’s threat level has been raised from low to high, Ardern confirms.New Zealand’s threat level has been raised from low to high, Ardern confirms.
Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, has issued a statement:Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, has issued a statement:
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.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.
And the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan:And the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan:
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.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.
“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.”“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.”
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.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.
Ardern says none of the suspects were on security or terrorism watchlists.Ardern says none of the suspects were on security or terrorism watchlists.
Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand was “chosen for this act of violence” because it is an example of multiculturalism, diversity and acceptance.Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand was “chosen for this act of violence” because it is an example of multiculturalism, diversity and acceptance.
“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.“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.
“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 to...it was a place where many came to for their safety. A place where it was safe to practice their culture and religion.“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 to...it was a place where many came to for their safety. A place where it was safe to practice their culture and religion.
“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.”“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.”
She issues “the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this”.She issues “the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this”.
“You may have chosen us but we utterly reject and condemn you.”“You may have chosen us but we utterly reject and condemn you.”
“This can only be described as a terrorist attack,” Ardern says.
“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”.
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed 40 people have died in today’s shooting, with 20 injured.
Morrison has more comments, saying Australian police are now investigating.
“[One shooter] is an Australian born citizen. That obviously leads to an Australia-based investigation.”
“There is no information to suggest any Australians have been killed in this terrorist attack, but it is very early on,” he said.
15-year-old schoolgirl Kerry is stuck by the cordon and can’t get home. She is feeling tired, exhausted and hungry.
“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.”
“Why does this happen to people innocently praying?” she asks.
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.”
Mohammed was in the mosque when the shooting started. 400 people were gathered for Friday prayer. The shooting started at 1.45pm.
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.
“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.”
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.
“I am so sorry this happened to you in our country, this should never happened,” one said.
Mohammed says he feels very afraid in New Zealand. “We are not safe anymore, where are we safe now?”
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.
Morrison also condemned the shooting as “a right-wing extremist attack” and offered his support to Muslims.
“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.
“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.”
Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, has just confirmed that the shooter who was taken into custody was an “Australian-born citizen”.
He says Australian authorities are now involved in investigations as a result of this.
The American Muslim civil rights group Muslim Advocates has released this statement:
“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.”
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. https://t.co/FmfFNmDmC3
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.”