The State of Israel and Jewish organizations around the world expressed their sympathy to the families of those affected by the horrific massacres at two mosques that took the lives of at least 49 worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand.
“At least forty-nine people were killed and dozens injured in shootings at two mosques in New Zealand’s second-largest city of Christchurch on Friday,” The Straits Times reported. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the massacres as a well-planned terror attack and said that it marked “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
Ardern put the nation on its highest security alert and asked all mosques to close.
What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us.
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) March 15, 2019
Several people including the shooter are reported in custody.
The main suspect, who is reported to have been wearing dark clothing, entered the Al Noor Mosque and started shooting with his automatic weapon. The suspected shooter is believed to be in his 20s, has been charged with murder, and is scheduled to appear in court on Saturday.
Forty-one people were reported killed in the Al Noor Mosque and seven more at the Linwood mosque. One person died at Christchurch hospital, where the injured are being treated.
The suspect published his manifesto on social media. The document features “conspiracy theories about Europeans being displaced, and details of two years of preparation and radicalisation leading up to the shootings,” Agence France-Presse reported.
He also live-streamed several minutes of his attack, including shooting at the wounded trying to get away.
The terror attacks on houses of worship prompted statements of support and solidarity from Israel, as well as from major Jewish organizations around the world.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon tweeted, “Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of the terrible shooting against mosques in #Christchurch. We express full solidarity with #NewZealand 🇳🇿 and its people. We should never let hatred , violence and terror win. @IsraelMFA @IsraelinNZ”
CRIF, a communal body representing French Jews, described the deadly attacks on the mosques as the result of “murderous and barbaric fanaticism.”
“We are horrified by this sickening terrorist attack,” Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews said. “To the victims, the survivors and their families, together with Muslims around the world who have been targets of rising hatred, whipped up by media hostility, we express our absolute and resolute solidarity.”
Our absolute and resolute solidarity to Muslims around the world. pic.twitter.com/XYJTMoWuSt
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) March 15, 2019
A statement from The Israel Project stated that it “emphatically condemns the barbaric terrorist attack that took place yesterday at mosques in Christchurch, NZ. We deplore terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their lives in this barbaric act.”
The Israel Project publishes The Tower.
The Israel Project emphatically condemns the barbaric terrorist attack that took place yesterday at mosques in Christchurch, NZ. We deplore terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their lives in this barbaric act.
— The Israel Project (@israelproject) March 15, 2019
Ronald Lauder, president of World Jewish Congress, said, “I extend my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the victims, and to the people of New Zealand.” He also expressed “horror and revulsion” at the deadly attacks on Muslims at prayer.
WJC President Ronald S. Lauder expressed "horror and revulsion" at the terrorist attacks targeting two mosques in #Christchurch, NZ during Friday prayers. "I extend my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the victims, and to the people of New Zealand," he said. pic.twitter.com/hZWUZDgnzO
— WJC (@WorldJewishCong) March 15, 2019
[Photo: CBS This Morning / YouTube ]