TODAY |

Worshippers run for cover outside Auckland mosque after loud noise mistaken for gunfire

Muslim worshippers in Auckland, still on edge after the March terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch, feared they were witnessing a repeat when they heard what sounded like shots as they were leaving Friday prayers at the Pakuranga Mosque this afternoon.

Some ran for cover, but police say no shots were fired and it was an armed offenders squad callout outside the Pakuranga mosque that had nothing to do with the mosque itself.

Police with assistance from AOS arrested a 40-year-old man in Cortina Place, Pakuranga, just before 2pm, said inspector Wendy Spiller of Counties Manukau Police.

The man had a warrant for his arrest and AOS were called in as a precautionary measure, Ms Spiller said in a statement.

"The arrest took place outside of a mosque but we just want to assure our community that the arrest was in no way related to the mosque," she said.

"We understand that this incident may have caused alarm but this matter has been resolved and is in no way connected to the mosque."

Police told 1 NEWS no shots were fired.

The man arrested is expected to appear in the Waitākere District Court tomorrow, Ms Spiller said.

Source: 1 NEWS

Earlier, RNZ reported that a worshipper at the Pakuranga Mosque had witnessed police firing six to seven shots as people left after Friday prayers.

Up to 300 people were leaving the mosque when the noise was heard on the busy street at about 1.30pm.

Khalid Baloch was outside the building with his son and ran for cover when the shooting started, he told RNZ.

He said he was terrified they were witnessing a repeat of the 15 March terror attack.

Mr Baloch said he managed to talk to others in the mosque who told him the police were focused on a BMW parked over the road and that the shooting had nothing to do with the mosque.

A file image of a police car at the scene of a crash. Source: 1 NEWS