Forty-nine people have been killed and at least 20 others injured in shootings at two mosques in New Zealand city of Christchurch in the worst attack in the Pacific country’s history.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference that the mosque shootings appeared to be a well-planned “terrorist attack”.
“This is, and will be, one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” an ashen-faced Ardern said.
The prime minister also said two explosive devices attached to suspect vehicles were found and were disarmed.
The mosques on target were the Masjid Al Noor in central Christchurch and another one in suburban Linwood.
Sam Clarke, a reporter with TVNZ, spoke with several people inside the Masjid Al Noor mosque when the shooting began. He told Al Jazeera a man entered with an automatic weapon and began firing.
“A gunman – dressed in black with a helmet carrying a machine gun – came into the back of the mosque and started firing into the people praying there,” said Clarke. It was later confirmed that 30 worshippers were killed at the mosque, including women and children
Bush said four suspects, including a woman, were apprehended in connection with the attacks. One of the arrested men had been charged with murder.
Authorities have urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.