Friday massacre: 49 killed in a terrorist attack on mosques in New Zealand
Friday 15/March/2019 - 11:59 AM
Forty-nine people were killed and 48 others were seriously wounded by two terrorist attacks targeting mosques during Friday prayers in Christchurch, southern New Zealand.
Police said in a statement that 41 people were killed in one of the mosques, while eight others fell victims in the second mosque.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the terrorist attack belonged to the far right and described the attack as a terrorist act, announcing the lifting of the security situation from low to high in anticipation of any other operations.
The attack was well planned according to the information received by the security services. Two explosive devices were found in two suspicious vehicles, but police forces managed to dismantle them, saying the incident was "the worst day in New Zealand."
City police commissioner Mike Bush said that four people were arrested after the attacks, namely 3 men and a woman.
Witnesses told local media that they fled to escape the shooting, and saw a number of the injured on the ground outside the mosque.
Police sealed off all mosques in the city and tightened security around all schools.
"At first we thought an electrical failure occurred, and suddenly everyone started to flee," said Mahan Ibrahim, who was at the time of the attack. "My friends are still inside."
The number of attackers is not yet known, but the Herald said: "The attacker is believed to be an Australian who wrote a statement explaining his intentions. The statement supported the ideology of the far right and the anti-immigrant policy.”
The social media reported videos of the attackers who were believed to have shot the victims.
"The attacker shot a person in the chest," one of the survivors told New Zealand television. "The attack may have taken 20 minutes and killed at least 60 people."
The attacker is believed to have targeted the men's prayer hall before heading to the mosque's chapel.
The survivor said: "All I did was wait and pray. I wanted God to make the gunman run out of ammunition.