Friday, March 15, 2019

Christchurch attacks: What we know so far | The Straits Times

Christchurch attacks: What we know so far | The Straits Times

Christchurch attacks: What we know so far

When shooters fired on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, dozens died or were wounded. Here's what we know so far about the March 15 attacks.

SouthHagleyParkNorthHagleyParkLinwoodParkCHRISTCHURCHLinwoodMosqueAl NoorMosqueDeansAve.Moorhouse Ave.Bealey Ave.1 kmChristchurchWellingtonNEW ZEALAND

More than 40 people were killed and at least 20 others were injured, including two Malaysians, in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15. These happened around 1.40pm.

There was also a reported third active shooting outside a hospital there. In addition, a bomb was reportedly found inside a car about 3km from one of the mosques.

New Zealand's second-largest city went into lockdown in response to what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described as a "terrorist attack" that was "well-planned".

Three men and one woman were in custody, the police said. One person was later released.

Al Noor Mosque attack

A man, who would not give his name, said he was praying in Al Noor Mosque when he heard the shooting start, reported Stuff news website.

He managed to escape, but saw his wife lying dead on the footpath outside. "My wife is dead," he said, wailing. His head was supported by other Muslim men who prayed for him.

A view of the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue in Christchurch, New Zealand, taken in 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

Another man who was in Al Noor Mosque told NZ Herald the building was absolutely full of people who had gathered for noon prayers. He believed many have been killed.

There were bodies all over me.

Another man was cited by Stuff as saying he saw children being shot. Dozens of people were shot by a man wearing a "military uniform", who emptied at least two magazines. "There were bodies all over me," the man said.

I saw dead people everywhere.

Mr Len Peneha was reported by The Guardian as saying he saw a man dressed in black enter Al Noor Mosque, and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.

He said he also saw the gunman fleeing before emergency services arrived. Mr Peneha said he went into the mosque to try and help, adding: "I saw dead people everywhere."

More than 40

The number of people who died from the Al Noor Mosque shooting, according to The New York Times.


The estimated number of people inside the mosque.

A still image taken from a clip that was circulated on social media. The video was apparently taken by a gunman and posted online live as the attack unfolded. It showed him driving in Christchurch on March 15. PHOTO: REUTERS

The gunman in the Al Noor Mosque shooting livestreamed the incident for 17 minutes, New Zealand media reported.

The shooter identified himself as "Brenton Tarrant" - a white, 28-year-old Australia-born man, NZ Herald reported.

The livestream began as the gunman drove to Al Noor Mosque in Deans Avenue, parking his car in a nearby driveway. According to NZ Herald, the beige station wagon contained a cache of weapons and ammunition in the front passenger seat and boot, along with petrol canisters.

1. According to his live video,the gunman parked in the alley next to Al Noor Mosque.2. He opened fire.3. The video shows him leaving six minutes after the first shot.Deans Avenue

He then armed himself and walked into the mosque. Once inside, he began shooting indiscriminately.

He then exited the mosque through the front door - after just under three minutes inside - and headed into the street, firing random shots as cars drove past.

He returned to the beige Subaru station wagon parked in a nearby driveway to get more ammunition from the boot.

A still image taken from the video. It showed the gunman entering a mosque in Christchurch. PHOTO: REUTERS

Less than 3 minutes

In the livestream, the gunman exited the mosque after just under three minutes inside. He got more ammunition from a car, then re-entered the mosque.

He fired more shots on the street at no apparent target, and said: "Looks like we won't get the bird today, boys."

He then re-entered the mosque to check for survivors. The video ended as the gunman drove away from the scene at speed.

In a lengthy manifesto published online, the supposed shooter outlined who he was and why he carried out the massacre at the Christchurch mosque, NZ Herald reported.

Armed Offenders Squad officers pushing back a member of the public following a shooting at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on March 15. PHOTO: REUTERS
An injured person being loaded into an ambulance following a shooting at Al Noor Mosque on March 15. PHOTO: REUTERS

The New Zealand police warned against sharing footage relating to the deadly shooting, after the video appeared online showing a man filming himself firing at worshippers inside a mosque.

The clip appeared to have been filmed from a helmet camera worn by the gunman.

Other attacks

A view of the mosque in Linwood. PHOTO: MASJID LINWOOD/FACEBOOK

According to The Guardian, 10 people were killed at Linwood Mosque.

Linwood Dental Centre practice manager Janine Richmond said she heard about 20 gunshots coming from Linwood Mosque at about 1.45pm. She said Armed Offenders Squad officers with dogs came in and searched the clinic - which is about 50m from the mosque - shortly after.

"(Armed Offenders Squad officers) have told us to stay here because it's not safe," she told "We can't leave and we've been told to stay in a room and stay away from the windows."

Christchurch Hospital went into lockdown after there was a reported shooting outside the facility. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS

There was a reported shooting outside Christchurch Hospital.

It went into lockdown. The Canterbury District Health Board said in a Facebook post that no employees or patients should enter or leave the building.

Every door at the hospital had been locked and guarded by the police, with only clear emergency cases being allowed in.

The Guardian also reported the police as saying there was a bomb on Strickland Street, about 3km from Al Noor Mosque. It said the bomb was located inside a beige Subaru that crashed on the street.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said a number of improvised explosive devices attached to cars have been made safe now. A media report said that two explosive devices attached to suspect vehicles had been found and disarmed.

Narrow escape

Bangladesh's cricket team emerged unscathed from one of the mosque shootings in Christchurch, an official told AFP.

Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus said most of the team members were taken in a bus to the mosque and were about to go inside when the incident happened.

"They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel," he told AFP.

The team members were due to play a Test match in Christchurch on March 16.

Player Tamim Iqbal tweeted that it was a "frightening experience" and that there were "active shooters".

'One of New Zealand's darkest days'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressing the media in Wellington, New Zealand, on 15 March. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Ms Ardern said at a televised media conference that the mass shooting "can only be described as a terrorist attack".

"From what we know, it does appear to have been well-planned."

She had earlier described March 15 as "one of New Zealand's darkest days". It was said to be the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history.

Clearly what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that one of the people taken into custody was Australian. Mr Morrison said he has been in contact with Ms Ardern, and that Australian agencies are working with the New Zealand authorities.

He said: "As family members with our New Zealand cousins today, we grieve, we are shocked, we are appalled, we are outraged, and we stand here and condemn absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist."

Two Malaysians were among those wounded during the mosque shootings, Malaysia's Foreign Ministry said on March 15. It added that Malaysia condemns in the strongest terms "this senseless act of terror on innocent civilians".

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in a Facebook post that "Singapore stands in solidarity with New Zealand in this difficult period".

Singapore's Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin commented in a Facebook post that the shootings were "savage and barbaric".

Back in New Zealand, Muslim Association of Marlborough chairman Zayd Blissett said he found out about the shooting from a text sent by the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand at 2.04pm, saying "50 shot" during Friday prayers in Christchurch.

"I'm just heartbroken. In fact, I'm sitting here crying," he said. "This is New Zealand. This can't happen here."

Source:  Reuters, The Star and The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network, Google Earth.

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