Jacinda Ardern: “This is a terrorist attack”

By Jessica Tyson

A total of 40 people have been killed in terrorist shootings at two Christchurch mosques today.

During a media stand-up this evening Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced 10 people were killed at a mosque in Linwood and 30 at a Deans Ave mosque near Hagley Park.

A total of 48 people with gunshot wounds are also being treated at Christchurch Hospital, says the Canterbury District Health Board.

The board says 12 are currently in operating theatres and patients include young children.

Ardern confirmed that four people have been taken into custody, including three men and one woman.

She described the incident as a “terrorist attack” and the terror threat level in New Zealand has been lifted from low to high.

“That's of course so we can continue to give assurance to the public around their safety. That means we’ve heightened our response from our agencies at the border, at the airport, at every level,” says Ardern.

Police have asked all mosques nationally to shut their doors and have advised people to refrain from visiting them until further notice.

They are also reassuring members of the public that there is a large police presence in the city of Christchurch and the safety of the community is paramount.

The Prime Minister is also urging people to not share images of the attack on social media.

“We should not be perpetuating, sharing, or giving any oxygen to this act of violence and the message behind it, she says.

“We should all be condemning obviously what has happened here today and the peaceful nation of New Zealand.”

More to come.