The Christchurch attacker have been apprehended by local police. The attacks came on Jumu’ah, or Friday Prayer, the Muslim holy day.
In response to multiple fatalities after active shooter opened fire in two mosques, Central Christchurch remained in lockdown, including schools, throughout Friday. Christchurch residents were warned not to leave their homes, and parents told not to retrieve their children from school until 5:00 p.m. local time on Friday when authorities lifted the school lockdown.
Queensland police report there is “no credible intelligence of any attack imminent or otherwise in Queensland” but Australian and New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee were nonetheless activated.
A number of IEDs were reportedly found attached to cars.
Community In Crisis
Ramzan Ali, reportedly thought to be the last man to get out of the Masjd Al Noor Mosque alive, waited in front of the mosque as for news about his brother who was with him in the Al Noor Mosque near Hagley Park in Christchurch, New Zealand when a gunman entered with automatic rifles and opened fire. Armed police deployed to a second mosque in suburb of Linwood.
“Police did not confirm how many people were killed in the attacks. We are still waiting for official confirmation of the death toll, though Jacinda Ardern said that there were a number and today would go down as one of New Zealand’s ‘darkest days,'” reports The Guardian.
Speaking to ABC moments before the attackers were arrested, mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel said, “This has been a shock, a shock to a city that has been through so much already. I’m shocked beyond words. I cannot think of the right words to say.
The police are doing absolutely everything they can… and they are seeking to get the matter under control and as soon as they are in a position to get the situation under control, we will end the lockdown of our facilities.
This has come as a bolt from the blue… It just feels like it’s not what would happen in a place like New Zealand.”
Suspects in Custody
New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush stated after the arrests, “Let’s not assume the danger is gone” and said he couldn’t discuss whether the four people who were arrested were known to police. “That detail will unfold in the next few days.”
Members of the Bangladesh cricket team were reportedly on their way to the mosque at the time of the attack, narrowly escaping the tragedy that one Christchurch resident says “will change how New Zealanders feel about their home forever.”
Social media users rallied not to share the shooters’ manifesto or video of the shooting made by the attackers, which authorities said should not be in the public domain.
“Do not watch the footage, that is what the bad people want us to do. This is not normal, do not make this violence normal. We must do everything we can to unite and prevent this happening again,” said Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten.
Christchurch Stays in Lockdown Through Friday
Grocery stores, rideshare services, and other businesses remained closed through Friday night while the city remained on lockdown. Police have advised all mosques to shut their doors as a precaution.
In response to the attack, Muslims Australia (AFIC) issued the following statement on Friday evening: