49 dead in New Zealand mosque attacks

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Forty-nine people have been killed and 48 wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the nation’s deadliest attack.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as a terrorist attack and one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”.

A gunman identifying himself as an Australian live-streamed the rampage at Al Noor mosque to Facebook. He had espoused racist, anti-immigrant views.

Police say a man in his late 20s has been arrested and charged with murder.

Two other men and one woman were also detained.

No names have been made public. Firearms and explosive devices were recovered, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

The gunman live-streaming the attack from a head-mounted camera said he was a 28-year-old Australian called Brenton Tarrant. The footage showed him firing at men, women and children from close range inside the Al Noor mosque.

Facebook said it had removed the suspect’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and was working to remove any copies of the footage. The live-stream of the attack lasted for 17 minutes.

The suspect who was charged appeared to have published a document online outlining his intentions as well as details about the plan for the attack. He is due in court on Saturday.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the man as an “extremist, right-wing” terrorist. New Zealand Police Commissioner Bush confirmed that the man had not been known in advance to either New Zealand or Australian security services.

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