New Zealand mosque shootings kill 49 in what PM calls 'terrorist attack'

NZ mosque shooting New Zealand mosque shooting

NZ mosque shooting New Zealand mosque shooting

"We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are enclave for extremism", Ardern said in a national address.

"At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders", she said in her message.

New Zealand officials didn't elaborate on the suspects or their roles in the attacks, other than to say that one of the suspects identified as Australian.

The secretary-general of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Youssef al-Othaimeen, said in a statement that the attack "served as a further warning on the obvious dangers of hate, intolerance, and Islamophobia".

Immigrants "have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home", Ardern said. Reuters was unable to confirm the authenticity of the footage.

Trump, whose rhetoric is sometimes aligned with the far right in the United States, added: "The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do". In other forums, people discussed Muslim food restrictions as they prepared to drop off meals for those affected.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had previously confirmed that 40 people were dead and over 20 were injured.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of the men in custody was Australian.

As governments in Asia and the Middle East scrambled to find out how many of their citizens had been caught up in the Christchurch bloodshed, there was anger that the attackers targeted worshippers at Friday prayers. "I saw lots of broken glass and bricks on the backside of the mosque", he said.

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"I could not contact two of my friends who are in the mosque as well", he said.

"At the Al Noor mosque, witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black and wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top enter the house of worship and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running out in terror". They have said, and I agree, and do not allow this evil into our lives. The singer bellows, "I am the god of hellfire!" and the gunman drives off.

- All schools in Christchurch were put on lockdown and mosques told to close their doors.

The shooting at the mosque on Deans Avenue next to Hagely Park, is near to Cathedral Square, where children were taking part in a global protest to raise awareness for climate change. And a young child who was in a children's hospital in Auckland was also listed as critical. For many, this may not have been the place they were born, in fact for many, New Zealand was their choice. It has an agricultural economy.

"My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the terrible massacre in the Mosques".

Dozens of people laid flowers at cordons near both locations in the South Island city, which is still rebuilding after a devastating quake in 2011 that killed nearly 200 people.

Just 1% of New Zealand's population of nearly five million are Muslim, according to government statistics, less than 50,000 people in 2013.

He described Christchurch as a "very peaceful city" that is still getting over the devastating 6.3 magnitude quake that hit in 2011.

"We must link arms around the world to stand up against this evil".

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