Deadly shootings apparently carried out by nationalist extremists have killed 49 people in two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand. This is what we know about the attacks so far.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush has confirmed that 49 people have been killed, over 20 more injured.
Children were among those with gunshot wounds admitted to hospitals.
A man in his late 20s was charged with murder and is set to appear in court tomorrow, police said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that a number of improvised explosives were found attached to the assailants’ vehicles, but it is not clear whether they were planning a suicide attack. The explosives were then defused.
Four suspects have been arrested; one of them has been confirmed to be an Australian national by the country’s prime minister. None of them were on any security watch lists.
PM Ardern called the tragedy “a terrorist attack” by “extremist right-wing” perpetrators, describing it as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
The national security threat level has been changed to “high,” the PM said, adding that New Zealand was targeted because of its values, which “cannot be shaken.”
According to police, the attack was a “very well-planned event,” and officers will be dispatched around mosques “to ensure nothing further occurs.”
One of the gunmen identified himself on social media as a 28-year-old Australian named Brenton Tarrant.
Tarrant used a GoPro camera to livestream the attack on the Al Noor Mosque.
His weapons were inscribed with references to famous European battles against Muslims and neo-Nazi slogans. One of the battles referenced is the 1683 Battle of Vienna against the Ottoman Empire.
Tarrant posted a lengthy online ‘manifesto’ in which he declared his hatred toward “Muslim invaders” and cited Norwegian right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik as an inspiration.
Shortly after the beginning of the livestream, Tarrant reportedly said “Remember lads, subscribe to Pewdiepie,” referring to popular YouTube blogger Felix Kjellberg. The YouTuber responded by saying he felt “absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person.” He also offered condolences to the victims.
The Bangladesh national cricket team was training near one of the mosques and was about to enter the building but fled when shots were heard. All players made it back safely to their hotel.