New Zealand Prime Minister Confirms 40 People Killed In Mosque Terror Attacks
Forty people have so far been confirmed dead and 20 people seriously injured in two coordinated terror attacks in New Zealand.
Gunmen stormed two mosques in Christchurch, the Al Noor mosque and Linwood mosque, shooting at worshippers who had arrived for Friday prayer. Four people, three men and one woman, have been taken in custody and police aren't ruling out more arrests.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has updated the death toll on the horrific attacks and also declared that they are treating it as a terrorist incident.
"We New Zealanders were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone this racism, or because we are an enclave of extremism, we were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things," she said.
"I want to send a message to those directly affected...For many this may have not been the place they were born. For many New Zealand was their choice, a place they actively came to and committed themselves to...it was a place where many came to for their safety. A place where it was safe to practice their culture and religion.
"We represent diversity and compassion, a home for those who share our values, a refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and can not be shaken by this attack. We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities and 160 languages."
"[This is] the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this."
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She has also confirmed that none of the people arrested were on terror watchlists. As a result of the attack, she has upgraded the country's terror threat level from low to high.
Ardern added: "This is not who we are. This act was not a reflection of who we are as a nation. It will take time to heal and tonight our thoughts and our prayers need to be with those affected."
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said there could be more suspects involved in this attack.
"We are currently dealing with an unprecedented situation in New Zealand. It's very grave, it's very serious," he told reporters.
"This is absolutely tragic. There will be so many people affected. As you can imagine, this is requiring every police and emergency resource we have available."
He adds that there have been some outstanding acts of bravery from the police who apprehended the suspects.
Featured Image Credit: PA