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49 killed in New Zealand mosque massacre

49 killed in New Zealand mosque massacre
(Inset) Alleged shooter- Brenton Tarrant. (R) Ambulance staff take a man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday. (AP)
CHRISTCHURCH, MAR 15 (AP) | Publish Date: 3/15/2019 11:21:06 AM IST

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.

The alleged gunman – who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant – made a livestream video of his attack available online.

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.

While there was no reason to believe there were more suspects, Ardern said the national security threat level was being raised to the second-highest level.

Authorities have not specified who they detained, but said none had been on any watch list. 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. A video that was apparently livestreamed by the shooter shows the attack in horrifying detail. 

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

The police commissioner warned anybody who was thinking of going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand on Friday to stay put. 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.

He said the mosques in Christchurch and Linwood would be the targets, as would a third mosque in the town of Ashburton if he could make it there.

9 Indians missing

At least 9 people of Indian nationality or Indian origin are missing after Friday’s shootings at two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch left 49 people dead, High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli said.

“As per updates received from multiple sources, there are 9 missing persons of Indian nationality/origin. Official confirmation still awaited. Huge crime against humanity. Our prayers with their families,” Kohli tweeted.

Meanwhile, Asaduddin Owaisi, the leader of AIMIM (All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party) has said that two Indians have died in the attacks, a third was battling for his life.

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