New Zealand enduring "one of darkest days" after Christchurch mosques massacre

New Zealand mosque shooting: At least 49 killed after gunmen open fire

Hollywood star and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, 71 also tweeted some heartfelt words with his 4.26million followers: "My heart goes out to the victims, their families, and the people of New Zealand".

Another 48 people are being treated for gunshot wounds after what the country's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, called "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

Australian media reported the gunman came from a town in New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, and state police later said they were increasing patrols around mosques in the state in light of the Christchurch attacks.

Investigators said improvised explosive devices were found at the scene, attached to vehicles used by the attackers.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the national security threat level was being raised to the second-highest level. It wasn't immediately clear how or if the two people in custody who weren't charged are connected to the terror attack.

All mosques in New Zealand had been asked to shut their doors, police said.

- Officers first received reports of shots fired in central Christchurch at about 1.40pm local time (12.40am GMT). "Let's stay strong and remember we are one human race and no extremist minority will break us".

One person was killed and several others were injured.

Norwegian Prime Mininster Erna Solberg said the attack brought back memories of 2011 in her country when anti-Muslim extremist Anders Breivik killed 77 people: "It shows that extremism is nurtured and that it lives in many places".

One witness told stuff.co.nz he was praying when he heard shooting - and then saw his wife lying dead on the footpath outside when he fled.

Map locates two mosques in Christchurch and Linwood New Zealand where mass shootings occurred
Map locates two mosques in Christchurch and Linwood New Zealand where mass shootings occurred

Speaking about her family, she said: "I'm sure many of you at home will have relatives in New Zealand and it will be very alarming for you".

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of the men in custody was Australian. Nichols said he saw two wounded people being carried out on stretchers past his automotive shop.

Although police have not revealed the identities of those detained, they did indicate that the names of the suspects are not on any watch list.

Players from the Bangladesh team were filmed escaping through a park near one of the mosques where the shooting took place.

Map of mosque shootings in Christchurch New Zealand.

"My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the disgusting massacre in the Mosques". He wrote: "We will not allow this sort of evil to destroy our friendship, and I know that all of us in the diocese will continue to stand with you and to work together with you for a community of peace and of mutual respect".

All schools in the city were put into lockdown as the situation unfolded.

In addition, police are aware of a video shared online, and broadcast live during the attack, that purports to show a gunman walking into an unnamed mosque and opening fire.

Police departments in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco said extra precautions will be taken at mosques beginning Friday, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan offered condolences and reassurances to the city's Muslim community. It has no place in New Zealand.

Forty-one people were killed at al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue, and eight people died at the Linwood Mosque on Linwood Avenue, according to New Zealand's Police Commissioner Mike Bush. "I think we've had a long tenure of political stability over the last ten or so years." he said.

Brexit: MPs to vote on 29 March no-deal exit from EU
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