Theresa Mays says Britain stands with New Zealand as she sends her ‘deepest condolences’ to the families of the dozens killed in the Christchurch Mosque massacres
Theresa May today expressed her grief after one or more white supremacists stormed mosques in New Zealand to murder dozens of Muslims during Friday prayers.
The horrifying attacks in Christchurch today have taken the lives of 49 people causing grief and consternation across the world.
Today Theresa May led the messages of condolence from Britain with the Queen expected to respond later.
Mrs May tweeted: ‘On behalf of the UK, my deepest condolences to the people of New Zealand after the horrifying terrorist attack in Christchurch. My thoughts are with all of those affected by this sickening act of violence.’
Theresa May has sent a message of support from Britain today in the wake of the New Zealand terror attacks
Mrs May and her ministers have been tweeting about the horrifying attacks as the UK woke up to the news
Her ministers have also reacted with shock.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘Our hearts go out to the people of New Zealand following the news of this terrible act in Christchurch.
‘NZ is one of the most peaceful, peace-loving and generous nations in the world.
‘Your friends in the UK stand with you today in deepest sympathy.’
Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted he was ‘absolutely heartbroken to hear about this attack on peaceful worshippers’.
Mr Javid added: ‘We stand with New Zealand and Muslims across the world against all forms of racism and anti-Muslim hatred. We will not let extremists divide us #ChristchurchAttack.
‘A horrific terror attack. We will never let the terrorists win and divide our communities. My thoughts and prayers with the victims and families of all those affected.’
European Council President Donald Tusk described the attack as ‘harrowing news’ and said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern can ‘count on our solidarity’.
He tweeted: ‘Harrowing news from New Zealand overnight.
‘The brutal attack in Christchurch will never diminish the tolerance and decency that New Zealand is famous for.
‘Our thoughts in Europe are with the victims and their families. PM @jacindaardern can count on our solidarity.’
A man who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant (pictured) live-streamed the massacre of dozens of people in Christchurch, New Zealand
Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country’s South Island. Pictured is a still from a live-stream of the shooting
Three shootings have taken place in Christchurch on Friday afternoon, two at mosques and another at Christchurch Hospital
The gunman, who identified himself as Brenton Tarrant from Grafton, NSW, Australia, stormed the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country’s South Island about 1.30pm, opening fire with a semi-automatic shotgun and a rifle on hundreds of worshippers attending Friday prayers.
A sickening 17-minute video of the unfolding horror shows the self-confessed white supremacist dressed in army fatigues firing mercilessly at people scrambling to flee, and calmly re-loading when he runs out of bullets.
At about the same time, there was a second shooting at Masjid mosque in Linwood, where seven more were killed.
In the aftermath of the bloody attacks, three men and one woman were arrested, with police charging ‘one man in his late 20s’ with murder.
One of them was arrested while wearing a suicide vest, while a man wearing military fatigues was arrested outside Papanui High School.
Of the 49 fatalities, 41 were killed at the Al Noor Mosque and seven at the Linwood Avenue mosque. Three were outside the mosque itself. A 49th died in hospital.
A further 48 people were rushed to Christchurch Hospital with gunshot wounds, 20 in a critical condition.
New Zealand was placed on ‘high alert’ following the attacks.