At least 27 dead in shooting at two New Zealand mosques (UPDATED)
08:31 (GMT+4) At least 27 people were killed when unidentified gunmen opened fire at people inside two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, Trend reported citing TASS.
At least 30 injured were rushed to city hospitals.
Police detained one of the shooters.
Armed people entered the the Al Noor and Linwood Masjid mosques in Christchurch at about 13:45 local time (04:46 Moscow time) shortly after the day prayer, blocked the entrance doors and opened fire. According to eyewitnesses, about 200 and 300 people were inside the building when the attack occurred.
So far, the casualty reports have not yet been officially confirmed, but police told citizens to stay indoors. All schools in the city were closed.
07:32 (GMT+4) Multiple people have been killed in mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, according to authorities, Trend reported citing Los Angeles Times.
“It is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
Some of those targeted may have been migrants, she said, or refugees.
“They are us,” Ardern said. “The person who has perpetuated the violence against us is not.”
One suspect is in custody, police said, but cautioned that others may have been involved.
Police rushed to the central part of the city after reports of gunfire at 1:40 p.m. local time, the New Zealand Police said on its Twitter account.
Police officials have not described the scale of the shootings but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors. Schools have been placed on lockdown, police said.
Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.
Peneha, who has lived next door to the mosque for about five years, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semiautomatic weapon in Peneha's driveway, and continued running.
Peneha said he went into the mosque to try to help.
"I saw dead people everywhere,” he said. “There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque.
"It's unbelievable nutty. I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It's ridiculous."
Ahmed al Mahmoud told reporters he was inside the mosque when a gunman wearing military-style clothing, including a helmet, sprayed the interior with gunfire. Al Mahmoud, whose hand was bleeding, said in a video on a Christchurch news site that he and others escaped by breaking a window in a door.
06:25 (GMT+4) New Zealand police deployed armed officers in central Christchurch on Friday after reports that several shots had been fired, police said, and witnesses at a mosque told media of several casualties, Trend reported citing Reuters.
People in center of the city should stay indoors, police said.
Police officials did not immediately comment on whether the incident took place in the mosque or nearby. There is no official confirmation on casualties.
Media said shots had been fired near a mosque and a witness told broadcaster One News that he had seen three people lying on the ground, bleeding outside the building.
Radio New Zealand quoted a witness inside the mosque saying he heard shots fired and at least four people were lying on the ground and “there was blood everywhere”.
“Horrified to hear of Christchurch mosque shootings. There is never a justification for that sort of hatred,” said Amy Adams, a member of parliament from Christchurch.