New Zealand police deployed armed officers in central Christchurch on Friday after reports that several shots had been fired, police said, and witnesses at a mosque told media of many casualties. People in the centre of the city should stay indoors, police said. Police officials did not immediately comment on whether the incident took place in the mosque or nearby.
Follow below for live updates (all times in GMT).
2.50am update: Local hospitals prepare for up to 50 causalities amid council build lockdowns
Christchurch City council said in a statement: “In response to a serious ongoing incident we’re locking down number of central city buildings, including the Civic Offices and Central Library.”
A number of local schools are also in a state of lockdown as people are urged not to travel within the vicinity of the city centre.
2.30am update: RECAP on events – witnesses tell of ‘blood everywhere’ in horror shooting
The gun attack happened at 1.40pm local time (0.40am GMT) during afternoon prayers.
Up to 300 people were inside the mosque when the shooting began according to reports.
Some members of the Bangladesh cricket team were filmed fleeing the scene.
A witness told Stuff NZ he had seen four people lying on the ground and “blood everywhere”.
The Bangladesh team’s Tamim Iqbal Khan wrote: “Entire team got saved from active shooters.
“Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.”