Ankara/Melbourne, 15 March 2019 (Anadolu News)
The death toll from twin Masajid (mosques) attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, climbed to 49, according to the New Zeland Herald.
Earlier New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put the number at 40. Ardern said her country is treating the shootings as a “terrorist incident”. “There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was,” Ardern said. “It is clear this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters that one suspect of the deadly twin shootings is an Australian citizen.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said that three men and a woman were arrested following the shooting. Residents were advised to stay indoors and notify authorities if they see anything suspicious.
Gunmen attacked the Masjid and fired multiple times during Friday prayers, according to the Stuff news outlet. Witnesses claim the Al Noor Masjid was targeted by armed assailants and there were up to 200 people inside for Friday Prayers.
Witnesses Len Peneha told reporters a man dressed in black entered the mosque and fired before running away before security forces arrived. Peneha said he saw “dead people everywhere” when he entered the Al Noor masjid to help those who were wounded.
One of the gunmen broadcast the shooting at Al Noor Masjid in a chilling 17-minute video on Facebook.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly condemned two deadly masjid shootings in New Zealand on Friday. “I strongly condemn the terror attack against the Al Noor Masjid and Muslim worshippers,” Erdogan said on Twitter.
Erdogan wished God’s mercy upon the victims of the shooting and a speedy recovery to the wounded.
“On behalf of my country, I offer my condolences to the Islamic world and the people of New Zealand, who have been targeted by this deplorable act — the latest example of rising racism and Islamophobia,” he said.
A visibly shocked Sonny Bill Williams sent his prayers to the victims of the twin armed attacks on masjid in Christchurch, New Zealand, fighting back tears video on Friday.
“Just heard the news. I could not put it into words how I am feeling right now. l am just sending my duas (prayers) to their families… InshAllah (God willing) everyone who has been killed today… InshAllah, you guys are all in paradise,” said Williams, who is also a Muslim.
“I am just deeply, deeply saddened that this would happen in New Zealand,” he said.
At least 49 people were confirmed killed in twin terror attacks targeting mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, according to media reports.