New Zealand mosque shootings: Witnesses recount horror as dozens are killed

Witnesses have spoken of their horror and shock as dozens of people were shot dead at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.

:: New Zealand’s mosque attacks: Live updates

These are some of the accounts given by witnesses.

:: A survivor identified only as Nour told the New Zealand Herald the gunman shot multiple worshippers outside one of the mosques before continuing his rampage inside, where he shot people indiscriminately.

“I saw people drop dead in front of me,” he said. “I was crawling to get away. It was hitting the walls.”

:: Radio New Zealand quoted a witness inside one of the mosques as saying he had heard shots being fired. There were at least four people lying on the ground and “there was blood everywhere”.

:: Ramzan Ali, who was at the al Noor mosque, told the New Zealand Herald that the shooting stopped and restarted seven times as the shooter kept reloading ammunition.

“I saw people running for all the doors,” he said. “To get 300 people out of the doorways was not easy – out of two doorways, because he entered through the main door, and there were two more doors on the sides.

“He just started shooting – ‘bang, bang, bang’. My cousin was sitting beside me and he got hit in his leg.”

Mr Ali added that he was “the last person to get out of the mosque alive”.

:: Noor Hamzah was also at the al Noor mosque, and said the shooting appeared to have lasted for at least 15 minutes.

After armed police had stormed the building, he said he could see dead bodies lying at the front entrance.

When he looked through the mosque windows he saw “piles of bodies”.

:: Mohan Ibrahim said he was one of 200 people in the al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue when he heard shots being fired.

He told the New Zealand Herald: “At first we thought it was an electric shock but then all these people started running.”

He added: “I still have friends inside. I have been calling my friends but there are many I haven’t heard from. I am scared for my friends’ lives.”

:: Len Peneha says he saw a man dressed in black enter the al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.

He says he also saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived.

Mr Peneha says he went into the mosque to try to help: “There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque.

“I don’t understand how anyone could do this to these people – to anyone. It’s ridiculous.”

He said he helped about five people recover in his home, including one who was slightly injured.

“I’ve lived next door to this mosque for about five years and the people are great, they’re very friendly,” he said. “I just don’t understand it.”

::The visiting Bangladesh cricket team was arriving for prayers at one of the mosques when the shooting started. They were all safe.

Tamim Iqbal tweeted: “Entire team got saved from active shooters!!!

“Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers.”

Mushfiqur Rahim said: “Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque…we r extremely lucky…never want to see this things happen again….pray for us”.

:: Mark Nichols told the New Zealand Herald he heard about five gunshots and that a Friday prayer goer returned fire with a rifle or shotgun.

Mr Nichols said he saw two injured people being carried out on stretchers past his automotive business and that both people appeared to be alive.

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