49 confirmed dead as gunman opens fire in NZ mosque
Matthias Browning

Matthias Browning

An armed gunman has opened fire in Christchurch mosque, with multiple people killed.

Multiple people are dead and one person is in custody after a mass shooting in two Christchurch mosques. A witness said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running outside in terror.

Police have arrested four people in connection with the attack on two Christchurch mosques, with three men and one woman taken into custody.

It is believed that one of the men is an Australian citizen.

In a social media post just before the attack, an account that is believed to belong to one of the attackers posted a link to an 87-page manifesto that was filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideas and explanations for an attack. The manifesto was not signed.

Police have not been able to to confirm the total number of fatalities, but estimates range between 9 and 30, with 40 people injured.

Witnesses Farid Ahmed and Ramzan speak about their ordeal inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque near Hagley Park in Christchurch, New Zealand, after a gunman opened fire upon the hundreds of people gathered there.

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said it was ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’ and many of the victims had chosen to make New Zealand their home. ‘They are us,’ she said. ‘The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not … There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence.’

The irony of the attack is that, while it has been the Muslim community that has been behind most attacks, it was their mosque that was struck. There is also concern in the US that violence might be reverberated here.

The Los Angeles Police Department took to Twitter to state that, “The LAPD is monitoring the horrific events unfolding in Christchurch, New Zealand. While this attack appears to be an isolated incident with no nexus to LA, out of an abundance of caution we’re providing extra patrols around mosques. Our thoughts & prayers are with all affected.”

Schools around Christchurch were in lockdown, but with the alleged masterminds behind the attack behind bars, police have removed the restrictions.

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