WALL STREET JOURNAL March 15, 2018 – Shootings at two mosques in the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch Friday left 49 people dead in an attack the prime minister described as one of the darkest days in the country’s history.
Schools, municipal offices and other buildings were locked down Friday until the evening as police tried to figure out whether there was more than one attacker. By late afternoon, they had defused improvised explosive devices attached to a car.
A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and is expected to appear in a Christchurch court on Saturday morning.
Two other men and one woman, who were armed, were taken into custody. Police later determined one of those people wasn’t involved, police Commissioner Mike Bush said. Police are assessing the role of the other two people, he said.
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
She said preliminary findings suggested that none of the suspects was on watch lists held by national-security agencies.
Police asked mosques across the country to close their doors as they sought to determine the reasons for the attacks, which occurred on Islam’s day of worship.
New Zealand, a small island nation of fewer than five million people, has long prided itself on its multiculturalism.
“Clearly what has happened is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” Ms. Ardern said. “Many of the people affected by this act of extreme violence will be from our refugee and migrant communities. New Zealand is their home. They are us.” [Read More]