Scores of people were killed while four suspects were placed in custody after mass shootings during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The attacks according to Police Commissioner Mike Bush were staged by an Australian extremist who livestreamed the attack, leaving the authorities with no other option but to lockdown the city.
Bush confirmed that 49 people had been killed and dozens injured. The commissioner told journalists that a man in his late 20s had been charged with murder.
Police officers responded to gunfire reports in central Christchurch around 1:00pm on Friday (8:40 p.m., Thursday Eastern Time).
Four people — three men and a woman — were placed in custody, but it remained unclear whether all of them were involved.
A number of IEDs attached to vehicles were found and disarmed. Firearms were also recovered from both scenes.
Bush said that no agency had any information about any of the suspects before the attacks.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has condemned the attack saying that it represents one of the saddest days in the history of New Zealand.
“Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” said Arden.
She further described the assault as a terrorist attack that appears to have been well planned.
“These are people who I would describe as having extremist views, that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world,” she said.