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New Zealand attack - live updates: Suspected gunman appears in court as Prime Minister Ardern promises ‘gun laws will change’

At least 49 killed in mass shooting of worshippers in two mosques

Adam Withnall,Tom Batchelor,Zamira Rahim
Friday 15 March 2019 22:59 GMT
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister says at least 40 dead in mosque shooting

At least 49 people have been killed and dozens more are seriously injured after shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Witnesses described seeing bodies and “blood everywhere” following the attack at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch on Friday afternoon.

Police have charged an Australian citizen, Brenton Tarrant with murder,

Handcuffed and wearing a white prison suit, the 28-year-old smirked as he appeared Christchurch District Court but did not speak. His court-appointed lawyer made no application for bail or name suppression.

He was likely to face further charges, police said. Another three people were arrested in connection with the attack. One was later released, but two remain detained at the time of publication.

Tarrant ppeared to have live-streamed the attack and outlined his anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto posted online.

A search of a property in Dunedin, around 200 miles to the south, was carried out by police.

Videos and documents posted online appear to suggest that the shooter live-streamed his attack on Facebook and prepared an anti-immigrant “manifesto” prior to the shooting.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand's gun laws would be changed as a result of the attack. She later visited refugees in the city.

Follow the latest developments in our live blog below.

Please allow a moment for the live blog to load.


Some Australian TV channels are sharing video of the live stream purportedly recorded by the gunman during the attack.

New Zealand Police have themselves urged people not to share the 'extremely distressing' scenes.

NZ Police said in a tweet:

Adam Withnall15 March 2019 04:27

New Zealand police say four people are in custody - three men and one woman - over the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.

Adam Withnall15 March 2019 04:42

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police have defused a number of improvised explosive devices found on vehicles after the mosque shootings. 

"There were a few reports of IEDs strapped to vehicles which we were able to secure," he said.

Adam Withnall15 March 2019 04:49

New Zealand police say they're not aware of other suspects beyond 4 arrested after mosque shootings but can't be certain.

And separately, a lockdown on schools in the wider Christchurch area has now been lifted.

Adam Withnall15 March 2019 05:07

In their latest statement, New Zealand Police say they are still "treating this incident as ongoing" and urged Christchurch residents to remain indoors.

The police are not releasing a death toll "at this stage", the statement said.

"We can confirm there have been a number of fatalities. We cannot at this stage confirm the precise number but it is significant," police said.

Adam Withnall15 March 2019 05:26

Police say that "at this stage we will not be discussing the offenders’ possible motivations or the causes of this incident", but did add that a request for people to avoid mosques remains in place.

Adam Withnall15 March 2019 05:27

With an online manifesto claiming the shooter was a 28-year-old Australian man, police in Queensland, Australia say they are involved in the Christchurch operation via counter-terrorism intelligence sharing channels.

Queensland Police said on Twitter that they were aware "that at times like this there is heightened concern in certain communities for backlash". "It is very important that people in Queensland know they can go about their daily business, their prayers, their religious services without any fear," the force said. 

Adam Withnall15 March 2019 05:34

This graphic from AFP shows the relative locations of the Al Noor mosque - where the deadliest shooting occurred - and the Linwood mosque - where Friday prayer-goers returned fire on a shooter.

Adam Withnall15 March 2019 05:36

The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has confirmed that "the individual who was taken into custody... is an Australian-born citizen".

"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," Mr Morrison says.

This attack, he says, "reminds us of the evil that is ever present and would seek to strike out at any time".

Adam Withnall15 March 2019 06:09

Indonesia's foreign minister says six Indonesians were at the Al Noor Mosque in New Zealand when a shooting occurred and three of them escaped. 

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said, "We are looking for three other Indonesian citizens." 

The Indonesian Embassy in Wellington sent a team to Christchurch that is coordinating with New Zealand officials. 

The foreign ministry says there are 330 Indonesian citizens in Christchurch, 130 of them students. 

It said it strongly condemns the attack. "The government and the people of Indonesia convey deep condolences to the victims and their families." 

Adam Withnall15 March 2019 06:26

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