(by NZ Herald)
Forty people have been killed and 48 people hurt after gunmen stormed two Christchurch mosques in the worst terror attack on New Zealand soil.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said 10 people were killed at Linwood Avenue Mosque and 30 at the Deans Ave mosque near Hagley Park. She said a further 20 people were seriously injured, while Christchurch Hospital has just confirmed 48 people suffered gunshot wounds.
Ardern said it was an “unprecedented” situation and described it as a terrorist attack.
“It is clear that this can only be described as a terrorist attack. From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned. Two explosive devices attached to suspects’ vehicles have been found and they have been disarmed.”
Those in custody had not been on any terrorism watch list: “It’s not a matter of someone having slipped under the radar,” Ardern said.
“There are currently four individuals who have been apprehended but three are connected to this attack and are currently in custody, one of which has publicly stated that they were Australian born.
“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.
“While we do not have any reason to believe at this stage that there are other suspects, we are not assuming that at this stage.
Ardern said it was obvious the attacks had been planned for some time. Three people were arrested in relation to the attacks, while one other was arrested separately.
Ardern said she could not give any more detail about the alleged offenders.
An Australian-born suspect had been in New Zealand “a relatively short time”.
She said she was asking questions about them, including access to firearms, of her officials.
The National Security Threat Level had been lifted from low to high.
The Defence Force was transporting more police to Christchurch.
Ardern said New Zealand was a place of safety where they raise their families.
“Those values will not and cannot be shaken,” she said.
“This is a place where people should feel secure.”
David Meates, chief executive of Canterbury District Health Board, said Christchurch Hospital and other health clinics were treating 48 patients for gunshot wounds.
The people shot range from young children to adults and injuries ranged from critical to minor.
Twelve operating theatres were currently in use and many people would need multiple surgeries.
There were sufficient capacity and staff at Christchurch Hospital, Meates said.
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