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49 Killed in Terrorist Attack on New Zealand Mosques

by Axios | 3.15.19

New Zealand police said Friday a man in his late 20s had been charged with murder after 49 people were killed and 48 others injured in shooting attacks at 2 mosques in the city of Christchurch.

It's the worst terrorist attack in the region. Many Kiwis are reeling from the news that such a tragedy could unfold in their backyard, a quiet country of fewer than 5 million people.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said people with such extremist views have "absolutely no place in New Zealand."

"It is clear that it can only be described as a terrorist attack."

— New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

The details: Police said they had taken three men and one woman into custody following the attack, which happened just before 2 p.m. local time (Thursday night Eastern) in the most populous city on New Zealand's South Island.

  • Police Commissioner Mike Bush said some of the improvised explosive devices officers had found were attached to the vehicles of some of those arrested and they had since been made safe.
  • The regional district health board said 48 patients were being treated for gunshot wounds at Christchurch Hospital — 12 were in operating theaters and "additional patients with gunshot wounds presented to other health facilities."
  • Bush said 41 people were killed at Deans Avenue Mosque and seven had died at Linwood Avenue Mosque. Bush said police recovered a lot of firearms from both mosques.
  • Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the "violent, extremist, right-wing terrorist attack,” and said one of those arrested was an Australian man.
  • An Australian who appeared to have live-streamed the shootings had earlier published an anti-immigrant manifesto online.
  • Police declined to identify the man charged with murder, but he was due to appear in a Christchurch court Saturday morning NZ time.
  • Ardern said the shootings marked "one of New Zealand's darkest days." "These [suspects] are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world," she said.

Dave Lawler, Rebecca Falconer

Photo: TV NEW ZEALAND/AFP/Getty Images

Axios

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