Multiple fatalities were inflicted at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday when at least one gunman opened fire on worshippers, police said.
Witnesses told media that a man dressed in a military-style, camouflage outfit, and carrying an automatic rifle had started randomly shooting people in the Al Noor mosque.
The Bangladesh cricket team was arriving for prayers at the mosque when the shooting occurred but all members were safe, a team coach said.
Police said they had one person in custody but they were not sure if others were involved.
Police advised people to stay away from mosques.
"As far as we know," the fatalities occurred at two mosques, New Zealand's Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there was no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme violence.
People in centre of the city should stay indoors, police said. All Christchurch schools and council buildings have been placed into lockdown.
Police did not immediately comment on whether the incident took place in the mosque or nearby. There is no official confirmation on casualties.
The Latest on shootings at mosques in New Zealand (UAE time):
Police have warned people to avoid mosques anywhere in New Zealand following two shootings with multiple fatalities at two mosques in Christchurch.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said anyone thinking of going to a mosque should stay put and close their doors.
A man who lives near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch said many people were dead there. A witness to a second shooting told New Zealand media he saw two wounded people being transported by rescuers afterward.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says following fatal shootings at two mosques in Christchurch it is "one of New Zealand's darkest days."
Ardern said at a Friday afternoon news conference, "what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence."
She said while many people affected may be migrants or refugees "they have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not."
Police warn worshippers not to visit mosques anywhere in New Zealand. Police said there were multiple fatalities and one person was in custody, but no details were immediately available.
6:50amNew Zealand media say a shooting has occurred in a second mosque in the city of Christchurch.
No details were immediately available.
Earlier Friday afternoon, police had urged people to stay indoors as authorities responded to a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque.
The Bangladesh cricket team is in Christchurch to play New Zealand in a third cricket test starting on Saturday.Mario Villavarayen, strength and conditioning coach of the Bangladesh cricket team said the team was close to where the shooting occurred, but was safe.
He said the players were shaken up but fine.
Media said shots had been fired near a mosque and a witness told broadcaster One News that he had seen three people lying on the ground, bleeding outside the building.
Radio New Zealand quoted a witness inside the mosque saying he heard shots fired and at least four people were lying on the ground and "there was blood everywhere".
People in centre of the city should stay indoors, police said. All Christchurch schools and council buildings have been placed into lockdown. Police did not immediately comment on whether the incident took place in the mosque or nearby. There is no official confirmation on casualties.
"Horrified to hear of Christchurch mosque shootings. There is never a justification for that sort of hatred," said Amy Adams, a member of parliament from Christchurch.
6:40amA witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.Police have not described the scale of the Friday shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.Witness Len Peneha says he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.He says he also saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived
Peneha says he went into the mosque to try and help: "I saw dead people everywhere."
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