The indiscriminate shooting in the two Christchurch mosques of New Zealand has left at least 49 dead.
Police now confirm that the gunman has been identified as an Australian extremist, who also apparently livestreaming the assault that triggered the lockdown of the New Zealand city.
Witnesses spoke of victims being shot at close range, with women and children also believed to be among those killed.
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, saying it marked “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.
The gunman at one mosque was an Australian-born citizen, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in Sydney, describing him as “an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist”.
The Masjid al Noor in central Christchurch was filled with worshippers, when the attack happened.
Two IEDS (improvised explosive devices) were also found and neutralised by the military, police said.
A manifesto had also been posted online on accounts linked to the same Facebook page, suggesting the attack was racially motivated.