The two mosque shootings in New Zealand’s city of Christchurch were a terrorist attack, the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a briefing, TASS reported.
"We believe that 40 people have lost their lives in this act of extreme violence. It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," she said, adding that more than 20 injured people had been taken to hospitals.
As for the four suspects who were taken to custody following the attacks, the prime minister said they had not been on any watchlist or known to police.
Ardern also said New Zealand had been placed on its highest security threat level.
Shooters opened fire in the Al-Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch at about 13:45 local time (01:45 GMT) on Friday. Witnesses say around 200 and 300 worshippers were attending prayer services at the mosques, respectively. Police also found and disabled two homemade explosive devices attached to cars parked near the mosques.
The incident killed 40 and left over 20 injured. Four suspects - three men and a woman - were taken to custody. However, police say there were reasons to believe that not all of the attackers had been apprehended.