Christchurch: At least 49 people are killed and 48 injured in multiple Christchurch mosque massacres involving an Australian terrorist, 28, who live-stream-ed himself opening fire on worshippers. A man in his 20s is charged with murder and three others, including a woman, have been detained. The police also defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack.
A Muslim leader in New Zealand said the attack was especially shocking as it took place at the time of Friday Prayer. The police has urged people to stay away from the mosques until further notice. The Australian white supremacist terrorist stormed the Al Noor Mosque at about 1.30 pm (local time) and opened fire with a semi-automatic shotgun and a rifle on about 100 defenceless worshippers attending Friday prayers.
A sickening 17-minute video of the unfolding horror shows the self-confessed supremacist dressed in army fatigues firing mercilessly at people scrambling to flee, and calmly reloading when he runs out of bullets.
At about the same time, there was a second shooting at Masjid mosque in Linwood, where seven more were killed. An additional 48 people were rushed to Christchurch Hospital with gunshot wounds, 20 of whom were in a critical condition. A dozen operating theatres were used, with many victims requiring multiple life-saving surgeries.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the events in Christchurch represented “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence” and acknowledged many of those affected may be migrants and refugees. The main assailant left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was and his reasoning for the attack. He said he was a 28-year-old white Australian and a racist.
He claimed he had acted alone and no group ordered the attack. Brenton Tarrant, 28, the main assailant, even published a rambling document he called ‘The Great Replacement’ on the morning before he opened fire. The chilling 73-page manifesto lists his twisted grievances, why he picked the mosques in Christchurch and how he was inspired by Norway mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 in 2011.
Among his muddled ramblings are rants about sex gangs in Rotherham and other towns in north England, and calls for the deaths of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish leader Erdogan and London mayor Sadiq Khan. Peneha, who lives next door to the mosque, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in his driveway, and fled.
He said he then went into the mosque to try and help. “I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque,” he said. “It’s unbelievable nutty. I don’t understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It’s ridiculous.”
He said the gunman was white and was wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top, giving him a military-type appearance. The gunman, after the shooting, got back into his car, where the song “Fire” by an English rock band could be heard blasting from the speakers. The singer bellows, “I am the god of hellfire!” and the gunman drives away. The video then cuts out.