49 killed in Christchurch mosques mass shootings

Two mosques were ambushed by gunmen in New Zealand's city of Christchurch on Friday. Over 49 people were confirmed dead, plenty others wounded

The attackers open fired at the at the Deans Avenue mosque and at the Linwood mosque around 1:40 p.m. local time. The mosques were crowded due to friday prayers, eyewitness recount over 200 people at the Deans Avenue mosque at the time of the mass shooting.

One gunman was identified and is believed to be an Australian extremist, he also live streamed the assault on Facebook. 

Following the attack the city of Christchurch was in lockdown, schools and government buildings shut their doors. Police advised people to stay indoors as the gunmen were at large. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, "It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack, from what we know, it does appear to have been well planned". She added that over 20 people were seriously injured in the shootings. 

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the gunman as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist".

It's still unclear as to how many attackers were involved, however the police arrested 3 men and a women suspect. 

The police found two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) attached to a car which were defused.

Mass shootings are rare in New Zealand, which tightened its gun laws to restrict access to semi-automatic rifles in 1992. However when one attains the age of 16, one can apply for a standard firearms licence after doing a safety course, which allows them to purchase and use a shotgun unsupervised.