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The Latest: Police say 49 dead in NZ mosque shootings

Associated Press logoAssociated Press 3 days ago
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Video by Reuters

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — The Latest on shootings at mosques in New Zealand (all times local):

9:10 p.m.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says the death toll has increased to 49 in shootings at two mosques.

Bush told a news conference that a man has been charged with murder and will appear in court tomorrow. He would not say whether the same shooter was responsible for both attacks.

A man who earlier claimed responsibility said he was a 28-year-old Australian and described anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto.

Police earlier said four people had been taken into custody, and one had been identified as Australian. However, Bush didn't mention the other people.

Bush clarified that police had found two improvised explosive devices in one car. He said they had disabled one and were in the process of disabling the second.

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8 p.m.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the national security threat level has been lifted from low to high after deadly shootings at two mosques.

Forty people were killed in Friday's attack and four people were taken into custody, including one Australian. Ardern said none had been on any terror watch list.

The security threat level is now at the second-highest level. She said authorities had no reason to believe there were more suspects, but "we are not assuming that at this stage."

A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings described anti-immigrant views in a manifesto.

Ardern said, "These are people who I would describe as having extremist views, that have absolutely no place in New Zealand."

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7:40 p.m.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the shootings at two mosques in New Zealand appear to have been a well-planned "terrorist attack."

Ardern said 40 people were killed at two mosques in the city of Christchurch and more than 20 seriously injured.

Slideshow by photo services

She said earlier Friday that migrants and refugees appeared to be most affected by the shootings.

A man who claimed responsibility for the attack said he was a 28-year-old Australian and described anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto. 

Police earlier said four people were taken into custody, and one has been identified as Australian.

Ardern said in a news conference, "It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack. From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned."

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7:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says 40 people have been killed in an attack at mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Four people have been detained, and one is Australian.

Ardern said more than 20 people were seriously injured during the shootings at two mosques during Friday prayers.

Thirty fatalities occurred at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. Seven of the dead were inside the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque and three died outside the same mosque.

A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings said in a manifesto that he was a 28-year-old white Australian who came to New Zealand only to plan and train for the attack.

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7 p.m.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that one of the four people taken into custody in New Zealand's mosque shootings is an Australian.

A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings said in a manifesto that he was a 28-year-old white Australian who came to New Zealand only to plan and train for the attack.

New Zealand police said they had arrested four people. Morrison on Friday confirmed one of those who were arrested was an Australian-born citizen. He said Australian authorities were assisting with the investigation.

Morrison said Australians were shocked, appalled and outraged by the attack. He described the gunman as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist."

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6:20 p.m.

Indonesia's foreign minister says six Indonesians were at the Al Noor Mosque in New Zealand when a shooting occurred and three of them escaped.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said, "We are looking for three other Indonesian citizens."

Police have described multiple fatalities in shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch and say four people are in custody.

Police escort witnesses away from a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers, as New Zealand police warned people to stay indoors as they tried to determine if more than one gunman was involved. (AP Photo/Mark Baker) © The Associated Press Police escort witnesses away from a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers, as New Zealand police warned people to stay indoors as they tried to determine if more than one gunman was involved. (AP Photo/Mark Baker) The Indonesian Embassy in Wellington sent a team to Christchurch that is coordinating with New Zealand officials.

The foreign ministry says there are 330 Indonesian citizens in Christchurch, 130 of them students.

It said it strongly condemns the attack. "The government and the people of Indonesia convey deep condolences to the victims and their families."

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6 p.m.

New Zealand police say they're not aware of other suspects beyond the four who have been arrested after two mosque shootings but they can't be certain.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush did not elaborate on the suspects who are in custody.

The shootings occurred at two mosques in the Christchurch area during Friday afternoon prayers.

A witness described multiple deaths at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. A witness who heard about five gunshots at the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque said two wounded people were carried out on stretchers.

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5:30 p.m.

New Zealand police say they have taken into custody three men and one woman over the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the events Friday afternoon "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

The shootings involved multiple fatalities but authorities have not said how many.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police have defused a number of improvised explosive devices found on vehicles after the mosque shootings.

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 his actions. He said he considered it a terrorist attack.

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4:30 p.m.

Police have warned people to avoid mosques anywhere in New Zealand following two shootings with multiple fatalities at two mosques in Christchurch.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said anyone thinking of going to a mosque should stay put and close their doors.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a Friday afternoon news conference that one suspect was in custody but "there could be others involved."

A man who lives near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch said many people were dead there. A witness to a second shooting told New Zealand media he saw two wounded people being transported by rescuers afterward.

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4:10 p.m.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says following fatal shootings at two mosques in Christchurch it is "one of New Zealand's darkest days."

Police said there were multiple fatalities and one person was in custody, but no details were immediately available.

Ardern said at a Friday afternoon news conference, "what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence."

She said while many people affected may be migrants or refugees "they have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not."

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3:45 p.m.

New Zealand media say a shooting has occurred in a second mosque in the city of Christchurch.

No details were immediately available.

Earlier Friday afternoon, police had urged people to stay indoors as authorities responded to a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque.

A neighbor described mass casualties inside the mosque and said he saw the gunman flee.

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3 p.m.

A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Police have not described the scale of the Friday shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.

Witness Len Peneha says he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.

He says he also saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived

Peneha says he went into the mosque to try and help: "I saw dead people everywhere."


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