49 dead in terrorist attack at New Zealand mosques

Mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers killed 49 people on what the prime minister called ‘‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days.’’ Three men and one woman were taken in custody.

Many Killed in 2 New Zealand Mosque Shootings © KPIX CBS SF Bay Area


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the shootings, which happened in the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Masjid mosques  in Christchurch,  represented ‘‘an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence’’ and acknowledged many of those affected may be migrants and refugees. In addition to the dead, she said more than 20 people were seriously wounded.

‘‘It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,’’ Ardern said.

The man who livestreamed himself slaughtering at least 49 worshipers in a New Zealand mosques has been identified as a 28-year-old personal trainer from Australia who described himself as a “regular white man.”

The gunman at one mosque was an Australian-born citizen, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morisson said in Sydney, describing him as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist".

 Forty-one people were killed at the al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue, said Mike Bush, New Zealand's Police Commissioner. Seven people died at the Linwood mosque on Linwood Avenue, and one person died from their injuries in hospital.

Two improvised explosive devices were attached to a vehicle as part of the attack. One device has been disabled and authorities are working on the other.

Christchurch, a relatively small city in the south of New Zealand, hit global headlines in 2011 when it was struck by a deadly earthquake. Dozens of people died and the city's historic cathedral was toppled in the disaster.

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