A white supremacist terrorist has attacked two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch today killing at least 27 people. The attacker, identified as Brenton Tarrant, had earlier released a 73-page anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant manifesto on social media websites.
It is not yet clear if more people were involved in the attack, however, Police in New Zealand have taken 4 people into custody including 3 men and 1 woman.
The attack was particularly shocking as New Zealand has never witnessed a terrorist event on such a scale. The Bangladesh cricket team who were due to observe Jumma prayers at one of the mosques barely escaped the attack and rushed to the nearby cricket ground. Team officials have confirmed that the team is safe and back at their hotel.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that at least one of the attackers is Australian describing him as an “extremist right wing, violent terrorists.”
The most shocking aspect of the attack was that it was broadcast live on Facebook with viewers able to see the event as it unfolded from the attacker’s perspective. Facebook was quick to take down the video but not before it had spread through social media.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has described the attack as “one of the darkest days” in the history of the country.
More on the terrorist
The terrorist involved in the attack was identified as 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant. He claimed in his manifesto that he had come to New Zealand only to train for the attack. He said that he was not a member of any organisation, but had donated to and interacted with many nationalist groups, though he acted alone and no group ordered the attack.
The terrorist claimed that his targets were the mosques in Christchurch and Linwood as well as a third mosque in the town of Ashburton. Shockingly, the terrorist said that he had chosen New Zealand as the target of his attack to show that “not even the remotest parts of the world were of “mass immigration”.
New Zealand is generally considered to be a very welcoming country for travellers, immigrants and refugees.