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Fatalities after shootings at two mosques in New Zealand

Sky News logo Sky News 15/03/2019 Lucia Binding and Connor Sephton, news reporters

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A number of people have been killed after shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Three men and one woman are in custody, but police have warned there could be other attackers at large.

At a news conference, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said a number of schools have been placed on lockdown, as well as the two mosques that were targeted.

a group of people sitting around a car: Grieving members of the public following a shooting at the Al Noor mosque © Getty Grieving members of the public following a shooting at the Al Noor mosque

The public are being urged to stay indoors, and worshippers are being told to stay away from mosques until further notice.

a blurry image of a person: A police officer attends the scene of a mass shooting in  Christchurch © Getty A police officer attends the scene of a mass shooting in Christchurch

Mr Bush also confirmed that a number of improvised explosive devices attached to vehicles in Christchurch have been made safe.

Footage on social media appeared to show a gunman live-streaming as he entered a mosque with his weapon drawn.

a man and a woman standing in front of a store: It is unclear exactly how many people have been injured © Reuters It is unclear exactly how many people have been injured The total number of those killed and injured in the attacks is still unclear.

One man who was inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque - the scene of the deadliest shooting - told local media that there would normally be dozens of people worshipping inside.

a car driving down a street: Ambulances rush to the scene of mass shootings in Christchurch © Getty Ambulances rush to the scene of mass shootings in Christchurch

The witness, whose clothes had been splattered with blood, claimed the shooting lasted for about 20 minutes and said the gunman methodically went from room to room.

He said he was one of the last people to leave the mosque - and had prayed that the gunman would run out of bullets.

"It took me half an hour before my shaking stopped," the survivor added. "I don't know whether my brother is safe or not."

a group of baseball players standing on top of a grass covered field: AOS (Armed Offenders Squad) push back members of the public following a shooting © Getty AOS (Armed Offenders Squad) push back members of the public following a shooting

Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque - with people running away in terror. He also claimed that he saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the shooting as an "extraordinary unprecedented act of violence".

She said: "It is clear this is one of New Zealand's darkest days.

a car driving on a city street filled with lots of traffic: Police are deployed in the city centre after two mosques are targeted © Other Police are deployed in the city centre after two mosques are targeted

"Many of those affected might be migrants to New Zealand. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home.

a person in a yellow room: Emergency workers push a stretcher carrying a person into a hospital © Getty Emergency workers push a stretcher carrying a person into a hospital

"There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence which it is clear this act was."

Players and members of the Bangladesh cricket team's coaching staff were reportedly on their bus and approaching the mosque for Friday prayers when the shooting broke out.

a man driving a car: Police direct traffic at a road junction following the shootings © Getty Police direct traffic at a road junction following the shootings

Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal tweeted: "Entire team got saved from active shooters. Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers."

Player Mushfiqur Rahim also posted: "Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque. We (were) extremely lucky...never want to see this things happen again....pray for us."

The team was in Christchurch to play New Zealand in a third cricket test starting on Saturday - but the match has now been cancelled.

Mass shootings are a rare occurrence in New Zealand, with the last being in 1990 in the small seaside town of Aramoana.

Thirteen people died in that attack, as well as gunman David Gray.

Gallery: In photos: New Zealand shootings (Photo Services)


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