Nearly 50 people have been killed and more than 20 seriously injured after terrorists attacked two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, during the Friday prayers.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the Friday shooting “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
Ardern said in a news conference that at least 30 people had been killed at the Deans Avenue mosque and that 10 others had died at Linwood Mosque. More than 20 others who were seriously injured were being treated in the hospital, she said.
The shooting “can only be described as a terrorist attack”, Ardern said.
A number of explosive devices were found attached to vehicles that the police had stopped, according to officials.
They said that four people, including three men and one woman, had been taken into custody. Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia said that one of them was Australian.
A Muslim leader in New Zealand said the attack was especially shocking as it took place during Friday prayers. The police called on mosques nationally to “shut their doors” and urged people to stay away from the mosques until further notice.
A video and manifesto that appeared to be by a gunman involved in the shooting were posted online on the day of the attack.