March 18, 2019
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3 Bangladeshis among fatalities in New Zealand terror attack

Dhaka, March 15 (efe-epa) - At least three Bangladeshis were among those killed in a shooting incident at two mosques in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand on Friday, Bangladeshi authorities said.

New Zealand police confirmed that at least 49 people were killed and dozens more injured, some seriously, in coordinated attacks on Al-Noor mosque in the center of the city and Linwood mosque.

"Three Bangladeshis died in the attack and four others suffered critical injuries. The victims include a university teacher and his wife," honorary consul general of Bangladesh in New Zealand Shafiqur Rahman told EFE.

The Bangladeshi Cricket Board said the national cricket team, which was in the city to play the final test match of their tour of the country, were on a bus approaching one of the mosques when the shooting began.

"We were very close, we could see the mosque. We were maximum 50 yards away," team manager Khaled Mashud told reporters in a video circulated by BCB.

"I would say we are very lucky. If we were there three to four minutes earlier, we would have been in the mosque, and a massive thing might have happened", he said, adding that the scene was reminiscent of a video game or a movie.

He said that several players had witnessed blood-soaked victims trying to flee the shooting.

"We were on the bus for about eight to 10 minutes. We kept our heads down in the bus, in case of any firing," he added.

Bangladeshi players took to Twitter to express their horror at the terror attack.

"Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers," star batsman Tamim Iqbal said.

"We (are) extremely lucky...never want to see this things happen again....pray for us," said batsman Mushfiqur Rahim in another tweet.

The game with New Zealand, which was scheduled to start on Saturday, has been canceled and the Bangladesh cricket team is expected to return home as early as possible, BCB President Nazmul Hasan told a press conference in Dhaka.

Hasan complained that there were no security personnel with the players when they had headed for the mosque.

"Whenever someone comes here we need to give the kind of security that they ask for. But so far we don't get this," Hassan said.

"The security arrangement was nowhere near what we usually provide to visiting teams in Bangladesh," he added.

Hundreds of Bangladeshi Muslims held a rally outside Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka after Friday prayers to denounce the shootings.

The suspected Al Noor Mosque shooter, who the police confirmed is a man in his late 20s, live-streamed the attack on social media for around 17 minutes, local media reported.

In the footage, he said his name, and claimed to be a white, 28-year-old Australian-born man, the New Zealand Herald said.

He has been charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday, New Zealand police said.

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