NZ mosque attack leaves 27 dead, Tigers scattered
Published: 09:57 AM, 15 March 2019 Updated: 12:47 PM, 15 March 2019
Bangladesh cricket team survived a close shave following a gun attack inside a mosque in Christchurch today. Local media reported up 27 people were dead and the South Island city was placed in lockdown as police hunted for an "active shooter."
Members of the Bangladesh cricket team were going to the mosque to complete their Jumma prayers at Christchurch's Masjid Al Noor. Just when they were about to enter the mosque, a lady warned them that a gun attack was going on inside the mosque. The distraught Bangladesh players got inside a bus and laid down on the floor after the warning.
20-30 people are reportedly injured while atleast five people are believed to be dead. The Bangladesh players made their way back to the cricket ground as they could manage and are understandably left very scared by the incident. The players have been told to remain in the stadium premises in the aftermath of the attacks. It is believed that there werer several attacks in seperate places.
"A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter," police said in a statement.
"Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high."
The Masjid al Noor was filled with worshippers, including members of the Bangladesh cricket team.
One witness told stuff.co.nz he was praying in the Deans Ave mosque when he heard shooting and saw his wife lying dead on the footpath outside when he fled.
Another man said he saw children being shot.
"There were bodies all over me," he said.
An eyewitness told Radio New Zealand he heard shots fired and four people were lying on the ground, with "blood everywhere".
Unconfirmed reports said the shooter was wearing military-style clothing.
Police commissioner Mike Bush said all schools in the city had been placed in lockdown in response to "a serious ongoing firearms incident".
"Police urge anyone in central Christchurch to stay off the streets and report any suspicious behaviour," he said in a statement.
Central city buildings, including the Civic Offices and Central Library, were also locked down.
The city council offered a helpline for parents looking for kids attending a mass climate change rally nearby.
"Please do not try and come and collect your children until police say it is safe for people to come into the central city," they said.
There was no official information on casualties but a Bangladesh cricket team spokesman said none of the players were hurt.
"They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel," he told AFP.
He said the attack happened as some of Bangladesh players disembarked from a team bus and was about to enter the mosque.
He said most of the players went to the mosque.
He said Bangladesh cricket board is in contact with New Zealand cricket authorities and would take further decision after consultation.
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