Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern referred to as the capturing on Friday at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, “a unprecedented and unprecedented act of violence.”
• Officers reported fatalities and mentioned that 4 folks had been in custody, including that a variety of explosive units had been discovered hooked up to autos that they’d stopped.
• They requested residents of the affected areas to remain indoors as they sought to rule out the opportunity of different attackers. Native faculties had been additionally locked down.
• A Muslim chief in New Zealand mentioned the assault was particularly surprising because it happened throughout Friday prayers. The police referred to as on mosques nationally to “shut their doorways” and urged folks to keep away from the mosques till additional discover.
• A video and manifesto that seemed to be by a gunman concerned within the capturing had been posted on-line on the day of the assault.
Two mosques are attacked
Pictures had been fired at a mosque on Deans Avenue close to Hagley Park, and a second mosque on Linwood Avenue was additionally attacked, the police mentioned.
They mentioned that 4 folks, together with three males and one girl, had been taken into custody.
The nation’s police commissioner, Mike Bush, urged folks to not go to mosques wherever in New Zealand on Friday.
He additionally urged mosques nationally to close their doorways, advising them to “shut your doorways till you hear from us once more.”
Calling the state of affairs “very severe and grave,” Mr. Bush mentioned that the police had been within the means of mobilizing all nationwide forces.
— CHARLOTTE GRAHAM-McLAY and MEGAN SPECIA
Video seems to indicate a part of the capturing
A 17-minute video posted to social media seems to indicate a part of the assault.
The clip, which can have been taken from a helmet digital camera worn by a gunman, begins behind the wheel of a automotive. A person, whose face can sometimes be seen within the rearview mirror, drives by means of the streets of Christchurch earlier than pulling up in entrance of the Muslim Affiliation of Canterbury and its adjoining mosque, beside the sprawling Hagley Park.
He then approaches the entrance of the mosque on foot, his weapon seen, and begins capturing at folks on the entrance. What follows is a harrowing almost two minutes of his firing on the worshipers.
At one level, the gunman exits the mosque and fires in each instructions down the sidewalk earlier than returning to his automotive for one more gun — which, just like the others, was inscribed with numbers, symbols or messages. When he re-enters the mosque, he shoots a number of our bodies at shut vary.
After one other jiffy, he returns to his automobile and drives away.
“There wasn’t even time to purpose, there was so many targets,” he says at one level, because the sirens of an emergency response automobile blare within the background.
— MEGAN SPECIA and JASON BAILEY
An internet manifesto
Earlier than the capturing, somebody showing to be the gunman publicly posted hyperlinks to a manifesto on Twitter and the net discussion board 8chan. The 8chan publish included a hyperlink to what seemed to be the gunman’s Fb web page, the place he mentioned he would additionally broadcast reside video of the assault.
The Twitter posts confirmed weapons lined within the names of previous navy generals and males who’ve just lately carried out mass shootings.
In his manifesto, he recognized himself as a 28-year-old man born in Australia and listed his white nationalist heroes.
He described what he mentioned had motivated him to hold out the assault, and mentioned he had purposely used weapons to stir discord in america over the Second Modification’s provision on the correct to bear arms.
— DANIEL VICTOR
Scrutiny of social media postings
During the last 18 months, tech corporations have promised to place stronger safeguards in place to make sure that violent content material is just not distributed by means of their websites, particularly throughout breaking information occasions.
However these new safeguards weren’t sufficient to cease the posting of a video and manifesto believed associated to Friday’s capturing throughout numerous social media channels.
A 17-minute video that included graphic footage apparently of the capturing could possibly be discovered on Fb, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram greater than an hour after being posted. Whereas each Fb and Twitter took down pages considered linked to a gunman within the assault, the content material that had been posted on them was already spreading quickly by means of different accounts.
Dozens of variations of the video could possibly be discovered by means of a fast search of phrases and names linked to a suspected gunman.
The nation’s police commissioner, Mike Bush, mentioned the social media postings “shouldn’t be within the public area.”
To be able to evade detection, folks seemed to be cropping the video or posting the textual content of the manifesto as a picture — each of that are strategies used to evade automated techniques put into place by social media channels to mechanically discover and delete content material.
Social media corporations largely depend on synthetic intelligence to mechanically discover and take away banned content material. The businesses have closely invested in these techniques, with Fb reporting last year that more than 99 percent of terrorism content by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda was found and removed through artificial intelligence.
— SHEERA FRENKEL
An attack during Friday prayers
Moustafa Farouk, a spokesman for the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, said it was especially shocking for Muslims that the attack occurred during Friday prayers.
“Its Friday, when we normally congregate for our prayers, so no one ever thought this would happen,” Mr. Farouk said in a telephone interview.
Mr. Farouk, who said he was on his way to Christchurch to meet with Muslims there, said he had never imagined that an attack of this kind could happen in New Zealand, which he described as a country with a “good reputation.”
“It’s one of the most peaceful countries in the world,” he added, although he said that “this kind of random act of violence will affect that image.”
— MEGAN SPECIA
‘One of New Zealand’s darkest days’
Jacinda Ardern, the country’s prime minister, called Friday “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
“What has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” she said at a news conference in New Plymouth, describing the shooting as “an act that has absolutely no place in New Zealand.”
“Many of those affected may be migrants to New Zealand — they may even be refugees here,” Ms. Ardern said of the victims. “They are one of us. The person who has perpetrated these acts is not.”
“My thoughts, and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders, are with those affected and their families,” the prime minister added.
— CHARLOTTE GRAHAM McLAY
‘My really good friend goes there’
Aman Singh, who works at a convenience store close to the Deans Avenue mosque, said he had heard the gunshots on Friday afternoon, and that shortly afterward people had streamed past the shop, bloody and crying.
Mr. Singh, 26, said he knew several people who worshiped at the mosque.
“My really good friend goes there,” he said, adding that he had not been able to confirm the friend’s whereabouts on Friday afternoon.
Mr. Singh, who moved to New Zealand from India four and a half years ago, was still hiding in the store with his wife, as the police had yet to arrive at their location.
He said they would be unlikely to be able to return home anyway, as their street was cordoned off because it was close to the Linwood Mosque that was also attacked.
— CHARLOTTE GRAHAM-McKAY
Lawmaker warns against ‘knee-jerk response’
Trevor Mallard, a Labour party lawmaker and the speaker of the house, said he was evacuated from Canterbury University, where he was with several other lawmakers to attend a student protest over climate change that is part of a worldwide movement.
Mr. Mallard described the shootings as “absolutely awful and unfair,” and he urged New Zealanders against “any sort of knee-jerk response.”
“Security is constantly under review, and this will be factored in,” he said, although he added that he did not expect “massive changes in the longer term” to security at Parliament.
— CHARLOTTE GRAHAM-McKAY
Murders are rare in New Zealand, but guns aren’t
Murders are rare in New Zealand, and gun deaths even rarer. There were 35 murders countrywide in 2017. And since 2007, gun homicides have been in the single digits each year except 2009, when there were 11.
But there are plenty of guns.
There were 1.2 million registered firearms in the country of 4.6 million people in 2017, according to the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss nonprofit.
A mass shooting in the New Zealand in 1990 — when a man killed 13 people, including two 6-year-olds, after a dispute with his neighbor in the seaside town of Aramoana — led directly to tightened gun laws, including restrictions on “military style semiautomatic weapons.”
Gun owners must be licensed, a process that includes a review of criminal activity and mental health, attendance at a safety program, an explanation of how the gun would be used, a residence visit to ensure secure storage, and testimonials from relatives and friends.
— DANIEL VICTOR
Bangladeshi cricketers flee a mosque under siege
One of the members of Bangladesh’s national cricket team, who said he and other teammates had fled the mosque as the shooting began, tweeted about his escape.
The cricketer, Mushfiqur Rahim, thanked god for his security and wrote: “we r extraordinarily fortunate…by no means wish to see this issues occur once more….pray for us.”
The staff later confirmed by itself Twitter account that each one members of the nationwide staff had been secure, including that “The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is in fixed contact with the gamers and staff administration.”