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Christchurch mosque attacks - Expert Reaction

People in central Christchurch have been urged to stay indoors, with all schools, Christchurch Hospital and the University of Canterbury on lockdown. Multiple roads have been closed and police say the "risk environment remains extremely high".

Police are encouraging people not to share footage relating to the incident online.
The SMC gathered expert comment on the attacks.
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Professor Alexander Gillespie, Professor of International Law, University of Waikato, comments:

"If you are looking at the actual attack, terror attacks [targets] are chosen by crowd density and response time. This is something that is clearly very premeditated.

"The fact that it’s possibly more than one shooter suggests it’s a terror cell – a coordinated group – and if it’s a cell we need to ask why weren’t they detected, because that’s why we have security services and it may be that those services have been looking under the wrong rocks.

"New Zealand’s terrorist factor right now is low, which means compared to other countries we are one of the safest countries in the world, so it is unlikely the authorities saw this coming.

"From what I can see on the internet this looks like an act of terrorism because he has left a manifesto and he appears to have targeted Muslims.

"If the number is more than 13 dead it is going to be New Zealand’s biggest mass shooting. Until now it was Aramoana. A mass killing is anything above four [fatalities].

"Our services and our authorities are very good. They know what to do, but this is a multi-faceted problem.

"We need to make sure no-one shares what is online because the risk of copycats is very high, as is the risk of striking out.

"The livestream adds to the notoriety of the killer. It shows you that terror threats – whether they are jihadi or left or right wing – they are international. People are speaking to a global audience, not just the audience in Christchurch. They are trying to speak everywhere.

"The killers are often willing to be killed themselves because it means they will be famous. The problem is now the media has gotten hold of the video and the manifesto.

"If the media shows pictures that empower the shooter there is a risk of copycats, even down to naming the shooter. You need a media protocol to ensure no one is named and there is no notoriety.

"This is the time for empathy for all of Muslims in New Zealand. Today we are all part of their community.

"In a country like New Zealand you don’t have many terror incidents. Our death toll is very low from homicide. What has happened is an anomaly; it’s not what you would expect in this country, which is why it’s going to be so bad and hard to deal with.

"We need to wait to see what other information is out there. We need to have faith in the authorities, right now it is about empathy for New Zealanders."

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