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2 Mosques Attacked In Christchurch, New Zealand. 49 People Are Dead


We're going to begin with the tragic news from New Zealand.


Yeah, two mass shootings in the city of Christchurch have less - have left at least 49 people dead, many others injured. At least one gunman targeted two different mosques. The prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, called it a terrorist attack.


PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN: These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and, in fact, have no place in the world.

MARTIN: Police said that four people - including three men, one woman - had been taken into custody. One of those suspects has been charged with murder.

GREENE: And let's talk to one of the reporters who's been covering this. It's Keith Lynch. He's deputy editor of the New Zealand news site Stuff and joins me now. Thanks for being here.

KEITH LYNCH: No problem.

GREENE: This is just - I mean, this is just terrible news. The death toll is rising. I know there are just scores more people in hospitals and injured. Just give us the latest and what you're hearing.

LYNCH: Yeah. So at this stage, we know that at least 49 people have been killed in what is certainly a well-planned attack. The prime minister and the police commissioner, as you noted, have called it a terrorist attack. This is absolutely unprecedented in New Zealand. There are dozens more people in hospital at the moment. At least one person has died tonight in Christchurch Hospital after being taken there after this gunman opened fire across these two mosques.

We know that about 40 people were killed at one mosque in Dean's Avenue in Christchurch. And about seven to eight others were killed in the Linwood mosque. So that would be about a 15-minute drive from one of those mosques to the others. As you guys have noted, there has been four arrests in the city, including one woman and one man has been charged with murder. He'll appear in Christchurch District Court tomorrow morning.

GREENE: Is anyone talking about a motive at this point?

LYNCH: Yeah. So the man who has been arrested is a 28-year-old Australian man who came to Christchurch with the specific idea to carry out these attacks. So he has published a manifesto online. We made the decision today not to repeat what is in his manifesto because we don't think it's right to give oxygen to his ideology. What it does contain, I can say broadly speaking, is extreme hatred and extreme racism, particularly towards Muslims.

GREENE: You said this is unprecedented in your country. Can you talk about that and talk about how people are coping with this?

LYNCH: Yeah. So New Zealand is, you know, it's a pretty quiet country. Christchurch is a really quiet and peaceful city. We had an absolutely horrific disaster here back in 2011, 185 people were killed in a major earthquake. This is much different because, you know, that was a natural disaster. This is a man-made disaster. Christchurch is in a real sense of shock tonight. Everything is closed. The entire city was in lockdown. Every school in the city was in lockdown today. People, I think, are really still coming to terms with what has happened.

GREENE: Keith Lynch of the news site Stuff in New Zealand. I know much of the world will be thinking about your country today. Thank you so much for the time this morning.

LYNCH: No problem. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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