Forty-nine people were killed in shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, in a terrorist attack that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”
Officials said that one man in his late 20s had been charged with murder, and that two explosive devices were found attached to a vehicle that they had stopped.
A Muslim leader in New Zealand said the attack was especially shocking as it took place around Friday Prayer. The police urged people to stay away from the mosques until further notice.
A gunman streamed a live video of the attack on Facebook, and he appeared to have posted a manifesto online.
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Two mosques are attacked
Shots were fired at Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue in the center of the city and at Linwood Mosque, about three miles away, the police said.
The country’s police commissioner, Mike Bush, said in an evening news conference that 41 people had been killed at Al Noor Mosque and seven at Linwood Mosque, and that another victim had died at Christchurch Hospital.
David Meates, the chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board, said that 48 people, including young children, were being treated for injuries at the hospital. He said the injuries included gunshot wounds and ranged from critical to minor.
The International Committee of the Red Cross created a page for reporting the names of people who are missing or accounted for.
The police said that four people, including three men and one woman, had been taken into custody. Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia said that one of them was Australian.
Mr. Bush said that a man in his late 20s had been charged with murder and would appear in Christchurch court on Saturday morning. A number of firearms were recovered from the scenes of the shootings, he said.
Of the three others who were detained, the police commissioner said that one might have had nothing to do with the attack and that the police were working to determine how the other two might have been involved.
Ms. Ardern said earlier that none of those detained were on security watch lists.
Two explosive devices were found on one vehicle, Mr. Bush said, adding that the police had defused one and were in the process of defusing the other.
Mr. Bush had earlier urged people not to go to mosques anywhere in New Zealand on Friday. He also urged mosques nationally to “close your doors until you hear from us again.”