Many dead in New Zealand mosque shooting; one person in custody

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Armed police have been deployed after shots were fired at a mosque where hundreds of people were praying near Hagley Park in Christchurch.

Witnesses told local media that several people appeared to be injured inside the building.

Police have not yet described the scale of the shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.

It is understood that the team was on a bus after it had gone to the mosque situated near Hagley Oval where Bangladesh and New Zealand were scheduled to play a One Day International on Saturday.

"Entire team got saved from active shooters!" tweeted Bangladesh player Tamim Iqbal.

"I was in the side room, so I didn't see who was shooting but I saw that some people were running out to my room where I was in, I saw some people had blood on their body and some people were limping".

Robert Weatherhead told the news website he had taken in about 13 men and a boy aged about three after they escaped from Al Noor Mosque.

The mosque is near the cricket stadium and the players had gone for their Friday players.

"A serious and evolving situation is occurring in Christchurch with an active shooter", Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

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"There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence which it is clear this act was", she said. "Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers", he wrote.

In response to a serious ongoing firearms incident in Christchurch all Christchurch schools have been placed into lockdown.

A witness told Radio New Zealand that they heard shots being fired inside the mosque and saw at least four people lying on the ground.

Central city buildings, including the Civic Offices and Central Library, were also locked down.

Media reported that a gunman opened fire inside mosque in Christchurch's Hagley Park district.

"Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand".

Shrinivas Chandrasekaran, the team's high performance analyst, posted: "Just escaped active shooters!"

There was no official information on casualties but a Bangladesh cricket team spokesman said none of the players were hurt.