"One of New Zealand's darkest days"- over 40 people die after attack on Mosques in Christchurch

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At least forty nine people have died and three people have been taken into custody following shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

A 28 year old man appeared in court on March 16 on murder charges, and has been remanded in custody without plea until April 5.

At around 1:40pm local time on Friday March 15 a gunman entered the Masjid Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and opened fire. Nearby Linwood Mosque was also then targetted.

It has been reported multiple improvised explosive devices located on vehicles have been found and made safe.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said 41 people died at the Masjid Al Noor mosque, seven at the Linwood Avenue mosque, with another victim later dying in hospital.

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, said the shootings “can only be described as a terrorist attack.”

“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” said Ms. Ardern. “There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence.”

The Prime Minister has also made a statement on the weapons used by the perpetrator of the attack.

“There were two semi automatic weapons and two shotguns. The offender was in possession of a gun licence. A lever-action firearm was also found. While work has been done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now — our gun laws will change.”

The 28 year old in custody has been confirmed to be an Australian citizen by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He is currently a resident of Dunedin.

Mr. Bush said that four people had initially been arrested under suspicion of being involved with the attacks- of the four, one has been charged with murder and two remain in custody. The other, who had been found armed at the scene, has been released- they were an armed member of the public seeking to help police.

The attack on the Al-Noor mosque was live-streamed to Facebook by one of the attackers together with a “manifesto” of his views. The footage has since been taken down. Police have asked that the public respect the victims by not re-publishing the footage.

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