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NZ mosque shootings kill 49

NZ mosque shootings kill 49

Christchurch: Mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers killed 49 people in New Zealand as authorities charged one person, detained three others and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack.

At least 9 people of Indian nationality or Indian origin have been listed as missing after Friday's Christchurch shootings at two New Zealand mosques, Indian envoy to New Zealand Sanjiv Kohli tweeted, citing updates received from multiple sources.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the events in Christchurch represented "an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence" and acknowledged many of those affected may be migrants and refugees. In addition to the dead, she said more than 20 people were seriously wounded.

"It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," Ardern said.

Police took three men and a woman into custody after the shootings, which shocked people across the nation of 5 million people. One of the suspects was later charged with murder.

A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was and his reasoning for the attack. He said he was a 28-year-old white Australian and a racist.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that one of the four people detained was an Australian-born citizen.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Friday night that a man had been charged with murder. He did not mention the other three suspects and did not say whether the same shooter was responsible for both attacks.

Ardern at a news conference alluded to anti-immigrant sentiment as the possible motive, saying that while many people affected by the shootings may be migrants or refugees "they have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us." As for the suspects, Ardern said "these are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand."

Bush said police had found two improvised explosive devices in one car, a clarification from an earlier statement that there were devices in multiple vehicles.

He said they had disabled one and were in the process of disabling the second. The deadliest attack occurred at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at about 1:45 pm. At least 30 people were killed there.

The Bangladesh cricket team —which had been in Christchurch for a test match against New Zealand that was later cancelled — all escaped without injury. A spokesman said the attack happened as some of players got off a team bus and were about to enter the mosque.

A video that was apparently livestreamed by the shooter shows the attack in horrifying detail. The gunman spends more than two minutes inside the mosque spraying terrified worshippers with bullets again and again, sometimes re-firing at people he has already cut down.

He then walks outside to the street, where he shoots at people on the sidewalk. Children's screams can be heard in the distance as he returns to his car to get another rifle.

The gunman then walks back into the mosque, where there are at least two dozen people lying on the ground. After walking back outside and shooting a woman there, he gets back in his car, where the song "Fire" by English rock band "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" can be heard blasting from the speakers.

The singer bellows, "I am the god of hellfire!" and the gunman drives away. The video then cuts out.

There was a second shooting at the Linwood Masjid Mosque that killed at least 10 people.

The man who claimed responsibility for the shooting said he came to New Zealand only to plan and train for the attack. He said he was not a member of any organisation, but had donated to and interacted with many nationalist groups, though he acted alone and no group ordered the attack.

PM Narendra Modi on Friday expressed "deep shock and sadness" over the death of scores of people in the heinous terrorist attack in New Zealand while stressing India's strong condemnation of terrorism and of all those who support such acts of violence.

Agencies

Agencies

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