No fewer than 49 people have been killed in New Zealand’s terror attack. The mayhem was unleashed on two Christchurch mosques.
In what appeared to be the worst attack against Muslims in a western country, witnesses spoke of victims being shot at close range, with women and children believed to be among those killed.
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, saying it marked “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.
“From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned,” she said, adding that in addition to the dead another 20 people were seriously injured.
A Palestinian man who was in one of the mosques said he saw someone being shot in the head.
“I heard three quick shots, then after about 10 seconds, it started again. It must have been an automatic — no one could pull a trigger that quick,” the man, who did not wish to be named, told AFP.
“Then people started running out. Some were covered in blood,” he said, adding that he joined the fleeing crowd and managed to escape.
Mike Bush, New Zealand Commissioner, reacting to the attacks said: “there are multiple fatalities” at two mosques in Christchurch and Canterbury Area.
According to Bush, there is one person in custody and there are “multiple fatalities” caused by an “active shooter”.
Describing the incident as a serious and grave situation, Bush adds that the police are “unsure if other locations outside of that area are under threat.”
Meanwhile, mosques in New Zealand have been asked to shut their doors after the separate attacks.