Two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand were targets of two simultaneous mass shootings earlier today, when Muslims were performing their Friday prayer.
As of now, 49 people were confirmed killed during the incidents, while 48 people including young children were being treated in Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds.
According to a report by the British newspaper, The Guardian, the gunfire broke out in the Al Noor Mosque, Deans Avenue, at about 1:40pm local time.
An estimated 300 people were in the mosque at the time of the shooting.
The other mosque that was attacked was the Linwood Islamic Centre, where 7 people were confirmed dead, according to a statement made by New Zealand’s police commissioner, Mike Bush.
At the Deans Avenue mosque, we now know that 41 people have lost their lives. And at the Linwood mosque, 7 have lost their lives. Of the 40 people who have been treated at Christchurch Hospital, one has now passed. So the total number of people who have died in this horrendous event are 49.
~Police High Commissioner of New Zealand, Mike Bush
Bush urged all mosques in the country to close their doors for the time being for security reasons.
New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern stated that this is “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”, and that “what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence”.
Four suspects were arrested by the authorities, three men and one woman, with one of them already charged of murder and shall appear in court tomorrow.
The High Commission of Malaysia in Wellington also confirmed that one Malaysian identified as Mohd Tarmizi Shuib, a Malay College of Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) alumnus, was injured in the shooting and is currently receiving treatment at the hospital.
The attacker was reported to have live-streamed the shooting as it happened, however, the New Zealand police urged people not to share the “distressing” footage of the violence.
Flags across New Zealand shall be flown at half-mast today, as the shooting is said to be one of New Zealand’s worst attacks ever.