• 49 confirmed dead in ‘terrorist’ shootings at two Christchurch mosques
• Seven died at Linwood, 41 at mosque near Hagley Park
• Four people initially arrested, including one woman
• Man, 28 due in court tomorrow charged with murder
• One of the gunmen livestreamed shooting at Al Noor Mosque in chilling 17-min video
Forty-nine people have been killed and 48 more hurt after mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques in the worst terror attack on New Zealand soil.
Nour Tavis said he was in the front row of the Al Noor Mosque in Deans Ave with his friend when the shooting started. At first they did not know what the noise was.
“Then we heard screaming … everyone panicked,” he said. “There was shooting and shooting and shooting … people were running and all of a sudden you saw them fall
The Queen has sent a message of condolence to New Zealanders: “I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives.
“I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured.
“At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders.”
Britain’s House of Commons will also observe a minute’s silence at 11am (local time) in memory of those who have been killed and injured in the attacks.
US president Donald Trump also sent a message to the people of New Zealand via Twitter after the terror attack.
“My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques,” Trump tweeted.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the shootings were “abhorrent”. At the Deans Ave mosque 41 people were killed, while seven had died at the Linwood mosque. A 49th person had died in hospital.
One man, 28, had been charged with murder and was due to appear in Christchurch District Court tomorrow morning.
“Two others remain in custody,” Bush said.
“Another person was arrested earlier today however that was not related to these events.”
Speaking about the victims Bush said: “Our love and thoughts go out to them and all of their family, all of their friends and all of their loved ones.
“We have staff around the country making sure everyone is safe, including armed offenders at all mosques. Police staff have gone above and beyond to protect people today.”
Bush said police recovered a lot of firearms from both the Linwood Avenue and Deans Ave shooting scenes.
None of the four people initially arrested had been on any terrorism watch, including in Australia, the Police Commissioner said.
Bush said he has “no intelligence” on a potential attack on St Patrick’s Day threat that has been reported. He was not aware of today’s attacks being linked to any other terrorist plots.
Police were not “actively” looking for any of the potential attackers now.
Christchurch police had a force of 1000 staff, and Bush said he would expect “everyone of them” would want to be out on the streets now. Additional officers were being flown to Christchurch from Dunedin and surrounding areas.
I saw some of the video made by the shooter. It was horrific. His 87-page manifesto, published online, is a screed of anti-immigrant, white supremacist bullshit. Many references to the United States of course.
He was also clearly influenced by far right memes on social media. Some appeared on his gun.
New Zealand has strict gun laws. This is doubly tragic because the country has such a low crime rate. In fact, that is precisely why the shooters CHOSE New Zealand.
Globalization has had positive impacts, but it’s also empowered evildoers. Today’s terrorism underscores how much the contagion of white nationalism has spread internationally. Christchurch, New Zealand, is 8,545 miles from Charleston, S.C., but social media helps make the world more interconnected than ever. In this case, 21st-century technologies fostered kinship between people across borders and oceans over their shared hatred of Muslims and immigrants.
Social media companies need to treat right-wing terrorism with the same seriousness they treat jihadi violence. The gunman posted apparently links to a right-wing manifesto on 8chan and Twitter, used a helmet camera to livestream his attack via Facebook, and otherwise exploited social media to spread the word. To their credit, most of the major companies are working hard to take down the content and prevent it from spreading. But this is not enough. The major companies have a robust set of policies in place to try to take down and limit jihadi content: Similar methods need to be employed for other, equally lethal, forms of hate like anti-Muslim, racist, and anti-Semitic violence. Countermessaging programs that divert users from violent content to messages that question and undermine hatred, such as the one Jigsaw and its partners designed for the Islamic State, should also be applied in a white nationalist context.
At least 49 people are dead and dozens injured after a terror attack at two New Zealand mosques allegedly carried out by a white supremacist pic.twitter.com/KSfLcTdpok— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 15, 2019