According to CNN, at least 49 New Zealand residents are dead and 20 more have been left injured following a terrorist attack on a mosque in the city of Christchurch on Friday (March 15). The shooting is currently being classified as a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims living in the country. Two mosques were targeted in the afternoon.
Forty-eight people with gunshot wounds, including young children, have been admitted to hospitals for treatment. A 28-year-old man was arrested and is currently being charged with murder and will have his first court appearance on Saturday (March 16). Two other men have been arrested for having firearms. Police are currently working to identify any connections between the men found with guns and the terrorist attack.
While authorities say they “will not be discussing the offenders’ possible motivations or the causes of this incident” at this stage, there have been reports of a live stream of the attack from a dummy social media account believed to be in connection to the massacre. An 87-paged manifesto with anti-immigration rhetoric explained the attack, however, the manifesto was not signed. Officers have also become aware of a video posted on social media, which shows the gunman walking into the mosque before opening fire.
“We would strongly urge that link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed,” the New Zealand police stated.
Facebook New Zealand’s spokesperson Mia Garlick said the videos linked to the shooting have been removed from the site. “New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the live stream commenced and we removed both the shooter’s Facebook account and the video. We’re also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware.”
There are also reports that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found in a nearby vehicle. Two IEDs have been identified, one device has been disabled and authorities are working on the other.
As of now, there are currently no other threats of attack in New Zealand, but the country is on high alert. “We have had no other threats since we responded to this incident,” New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said. He also claims “no agency had any information” about the planning of the attacks.