Forty people have been killed in deadly terror attack at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers, said New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, calling it one of the country’s “darkest days”, AFP reported.
More than 20 people have been injured in the terrorist attacks, she said in a second press conference following the shootings.
Authorities detained four people and defused explosive devices in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack.
Police took three men and a woman into custody after the shootings, which shocked people across the nation of 5 million people. Authorities have not elaborated on who they detained. But a man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was and his reasoning for his actions.
The man who claimed responsibility for the shooting said he was 28-year-old white Australian who came to New Zealand only to plan and train for the attack. He said he was not a member of any organisation, but had donated to and interacted with many nationalist groups, though he acted alone and no group ordered the attack.
He said that the mosques in Christchurch and Linwood would be the targets, as would a third mosque in the town of Ashburton if he could make it there. He said he chose New Zealand because of its location, to show that even the most remote parts of the world were not free of “mass immigration”. New Zealand is generally considered to be a welcoming country for immigrants and refugees.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that an Australian citizen had been arrested in connection with New Zealand’s mosque shootings.