New Zealand Mosque terror attack: : 49 dead, 20 injured

Police took three men and a woman into custody after the shootings.

Attacks on two Christchurch mosques left at least 49 dead on Friday, with one gunman - identified as an Australian militant - apparently livestreaming the assault that triggered the lockdown of the New Zealand city.

"It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, saying it marked "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

"From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned," she said, adding that in addition to the dead another 20 people were seriously injured.

Ardern said New Zealand had been placed on its highest security threat level. She said four people in police custody held militant views, but had not been on any police watchlists.

Police took three men and a woman into custody after the shootings, which shocked people across the nation of 5 million people.

Video footage widely circulated on social media, apparently taken by a gunman and posted online live as the attack unfolded, showed him driving to one mosque, entering it and shooting randomly at people inside.

The Bangladesh cricket team was arriving for prayers at the mosque when the shooting occurred but all members were safe, a team coach said.

 

People in centre of the city should stay indoors, police said. All Christchurch schools and council buildings have been placed into lockdown.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the national security threat level has been lifted from low to high after deadly shootings at two mosques.

The security threat level is now at the second-highest level. She said authorities had no reason to believe there were more suspects, but "we are not assuming that at this stage."

A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings described anti-immigrant views in a manifesto.

Ardern said, "These are people who I would describe as having militant views, that have absolutely no place in New Zealand."

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