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

Erika Holt
March 17, 2019

Referring to the four people detained by police, Ardern said, "These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand".

The man, who identified himself in a livestream of the massacre as Brenton Tarrant, said he was motivated by far-right extremism he saw in the United States to carry out the attack at Al Noor Mosque.

"It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack, " Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, noting that numerous victims could be migrants or refugees.

Bush said police had found two improvised explosive devices in one auto, a clarification from an earlier statement that there were devices in multiple vehicles. The gunman, who was wearing a helmet with some sort of device on the top, then exited the mosque, dropping a semi-automatic weapon as he fled the scene.

Before Friday's attack, New Zealand's deadliest shooting in modern history took place in 1990 in the small town of Aramoana, where a gunman killed 13 people following a dispute with a neighbor. "I just don't understand it".

The Queen also sent a message to the people of New Zealand on Friday. The singer bellows, "I am the god of hellfire!" and the gunman drives off before police even arrive. The video then cuts out.

"One person a male in his late 20s has been charged with murder and should appear in the Christchurch Court tomorrow morning".

After the attacks, the New Zealand government adjusted the national safety level from low to high, the first time that the country's threat level has been raised to this level.

Violent crime is rare in New Zealand and police do not usually carry guns.

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He said he was in New Zealand temporarily while he "planned and trained" the attack. He had previously donated to and collaborated with nationalist organizations, though he claims to have acted alone in ordering the attack.

The Archbishop of Canterbury posted on Twitter: "Profound sympathy for the victims and relatives of the New Zealand terrorism".

Police departments in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco said extra precautions will be taken at mosques beginning Friday, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan offered condolences and reassurances to the city's Muslim community.

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. He said about 200 family members were at the hospital awaiting news of their loved ones. BBC quoted witnesses saying that they ran for their lives and saw people bleeding on the ground outside the Al Noor mosque.

Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand's population, a 2013 census showed.

The Bangladesh cricket team narrowly avoided being caught up in the shooting while on a bus approaching one of the mosques while in the city for a match, which has since been canceled. It has been rebuilding since an quake in 2011 killed 185 people and destroyed many downtown buildings.

Tamim Iqbal tweeted: "Entire team got saved from active shooters! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers". Jordan's Foreign Ministry confirmed that one Jordanian was killed and five wounded in the attack.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she mourned "with New Zealanders for their fellow citizens who were attacked and murdered out of racist hatred while peacefully praying in their mosques".

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