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Two Mosques Attacked In New Zealand, Multiple Fatalities Reported As City Goes On Lockdown

Multiple outlets are reporting that two mosques have been attacked in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Gunshots were heard near the Al Noor mosque around 1:40 p.m. local time. According to TVNZ, witnesses described hearing up to 100 gunshots. Police confirmed fatalities occurred but did not give a specific number, nor confirm how many were injured.

Police have urged individuals near the Christchurch city center to remain indoors as they respond to an “active shooter” situation. All schools in Christchurch have been placed on lockdown.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that Christchurch Police have arrested one person in connection with the attacks. However, Ardern said other individuals could be involved in the attack and cautioned Christchurch residents to remain sheltered and follow the instructions of local authorities. 

“This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days, clearly what has happened here is an unprecedented act of violence,” Ardern said during a brief press conference. “I would describe this as an unprecedented act of violence that has no place in New Zealand. This is not who we are.”

Guardian reporter Eleanor Ainge Roy stated that police are also working to investigate believed explosive devices contained within a Subaru near the mosque.

Reports of an additional gunman at the Linwood Masjid mosque are unconfirmed by authorities, though TVNZ reports an estimated 150 people were inside the mosque at the time of the shooting.

According to a report from Radio NZ, Adam Ali was praying at the Linwood Masjid when a gunman entered the mosque and opened fire. Ali said he saw multiple people injured by gunshots as he escaped the mosque.

“I’ve lived in Christchurch for twenty-five years plus, I haven’t seen anything like this. This is not right, this is not Christchurch. Day by day there’s so much racism [and] the conflict we are getting, it’s not right,” Ali said.

The number of shooters involved has not been confirmed, but at least one of the gunman involved streamed the shooting on Facebook Live.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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