What We Know So Far About the New Zealand Mosque Shootings mar15

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What We Know So Far About the New Zealand Mosque Shootings

At least 49 people have been killed in mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday.

The attacks occurred while worshippers attended Friday prayers. The main attack happened at Masjid Al Noor in central Christchurch, the largest city on the country’s southern island, where about 30 people died, according to the Associated Press. A second shooting took place Linwood Masjid Mosque, in an eastern suburb of Christchurch.

It is reported that a number of explosive devices attached to vehicles were defused after the attack.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the incident a “terrorist attack.”

“There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence,” she said at a press conference in Christchurch. Of the alleged perpetrators, she said: “These are people that I would describe as having extremist views, that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world.”

Here’s what we know so far about the events unfolding in New Zealand.

What we know about the suspects

Four people have been taken into custody. New Zealand Police confirmed on Twitter that three men and one women have been detained. On Friday night, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said one man had been charged with murder, according to the Associated Press.

The suspects have not yet been named. Arden confirmed the attackers were not on any security watch lists.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that one of the suspects is an Australian citizen, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Reports say a man by the name of Brenton Tarrant posted a hate-filled manifesto to social media, according to the Morning Herald.

It has also been reported that the suspect streamed the massacre on Facebook Live for approximately 17 minutes. New Zealand Police urged people not to view any “extremely distressing footage” being circulated online, and confirmed that the police are working to remove any footage from the Internet.

What we know about the victims

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed that at least 49 people have been killed in the shootings. Ardern said many of the victims are migrants and refugees.

The Canterbury District Health Board confirmed that 48 patients are currently being treated at Christchurch Hospital, including children to adults, some with critical injuries. People with gunshot wounds are also being treated at other hospitals.

What we know about the survivors

Survivors of the attack described a gunman wearing army-style clothing spraying the mosque with bullets. Noor Hamzah, 54, who was inside the Al Noor Mosque when the shooting began, described running for his life and hiding in the mosque’s carpark with several other worshippers, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Sabbir Hussain, who was inside the Linwood Masjid, said he hid in a wash and storeroom before jumping out a window to hide until police arrived, reports stuff.co.nz.

Among those who managed to escape with their lives were several members of Bangladesh’s cricket team, who were in Christchurch for a match against New Zealand. Players and coaches of Bangladesh’s cricket team were on a bus en route to Masjid al Noor mosque in Christchurch when the shooting started, reports the Associated Press. A Saturday match between the New Zealand and Bangladesh cricket teams has been cancelled.

The team’s batsman Tamil Iqbal Khan tweeted about the incident.

Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack

— Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28) March 15, 2019

Team member Mushfiqur Rahmin also tweeted about the team’s narrow escape.

Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack

— Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28) March 15, 2019

What have authorities said

Ardern said at a press conference that the tragedy in Christchurch could “only be described as a terror attack.” She had earlier condemned the attacks on Twitter:

What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us.

— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) March 15, 2019

The prime minister said that New Zealand was targeted because of its diversity, but that the nation will not abandon its values in the face of tragedy:

For those of you who are watching at home tonight and questioning how this could have happened here, we, New Zealand, we are not a target because we are a safe harbour for those who hate, we were not chosen for this violnece because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism, we were chosen for the fact we represent none of these things. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it.

And those values, I can assure you, will not and cannot be shaken by this attack. We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages and amongst that diversity we share common values and the one that we place the currency on right now and tonight is our compassion and the support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy.

Secondly, the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology for those who did this … we utterly reject and condemn you.

Other leaders joined Ardern in denouncing the shooting. “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,” said Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison Twitter.

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.

— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) March 15, 2019

Police have asked Christchurch residents to stay at home, and called for the closure of mosques across the country. “We have asked all mosques nationally to shut their doors, and advise that people refrain from visiting,” the New Zealand Police said on Twitter.

The country’s national security threat level has been raised from low to high, according to the Associated Press.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

Original Article