Calderdale in shock after people killed in New Zealand mosque shootings

Leader of Calderdale Council Tim Swift and Halifax MP Holly Lynch
Leader of Calderdale Council Tim Swift and Halifax MP Holly Lynch

Calderdale leaders have offered their condolences and support in the wake of a shootings at mosques in New Zealand.

It is believed 49 people have been killed and at least 20 wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it as "one of New Zealand's darkest days" and said the events in the city of Christchurch represented "an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence".

Calderdale leaders have taken to social media to offer their condolences and spoke of their shock over the incident.

Calderdale Council Leader Councillor Tim Swift said: " “Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with everyone affected by the horrendous terrorist attack against Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand today.

“I know our communities will be thinking of those who have lost their lives and that they will pray for those who have been lost; their grieving families and for those who have been injured. We stand together in solidarity with them.

"And when responding to this shocking, appalling attack, we are grateful to the emergency services for their bravery and compassion, and for the support they have given to those who were injured.

“As a mark of respect we are flying the Union Flag at half-mast at Halifax Town Hall today.”

The chief executive of Calderdale Council Robin Tuddenham said on Twitter: "Tragic and distressing news from New Zealand. Flag flying at half mast at Halifax Town Hall. Calderdale Council's thoughts with all those affected."

Halifax MP Holly Lynch also took to Twitter and said: "Horrific news from New Zealand this morning. Sending love and solidarity in the face of what a sickening act of cowardice."

New Zealand Police said that four people - three men and one woman - are in custody in relation to the attacks.

A number of improvised explosive devices found on vehicles after the shootings were defused by police.

Officers responded to reports of shots fired in central Christchurch at about 1.40pm local time (12.40am GMT), and urged people in the area to stay indoors.

All schools in the city were put into lockdown as the situation unfolded.

When the death toll stood at 40, it was known that 30 people were killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch, seven were killed inside the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque, and three died outside the same mosque.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said the British High Commission in Wellington was in contact with the New Zealand authorities about the incident.

"British nationals in the area are advised to remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities," he said.

"The British High Commission in Wellington is in contact with the New Zealand authorities and urgently seeking further information."