Bomb found in Christchurch, 1 held - GulfToday

Bomb found in Christchurch, 1 held

Christchurch-police

Police officers and vehicles are seen behind police cordon in Christchurch on Tuesday. Reuters

New Zealand police found a suspected bomb and ammunition on Tuesday in a vacant lot in Christchurch, the scene of last month’s mosque shootings which killed 50 Muslim worshippers.

Police cordoned off streets late Tuesday afternoon in the Phillipstown area just outside the central business district and evacuated local houses.

Shortly after 6:00pm they said a military bomb squad had rendered a suspicious package safe and a 33-year-old man had been arrested and was “assisting police with inquiries”.

“Police have located a package containing a suspected explosive device and ammunition at a vacant address on Newcastle Street in Christchurch,” superintendent John Price said in a statement.

“The NZDF EOD (NZ Defence Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team have rendered the package safe.” Price did not provide any background about the man or his possible motivations.

A no-fly zone was also established, according to a police statement.

The New Zealand Herald said police were called due to “threats about an explosive device”.

A spokesman for the St John Ambulance service said an ambulance was on standby at the request of police but had not treated any patients.

Christchurch remains on alert after the March attacks in which a self-styled white supremacist shot dead 50 people and injured another 39 in attacks on two mosques.

Just last week, the South Island city hosted a massive security operation as Britain’s Prince William visited survivors of the atrocity and praised the country’s response to the massacre.

While the cordons prompted by the latest scare had been lifted, Price urged residents to remain vigilant.

“Members of the community are asked to continue to report any concerning behaviour or activity in their neighbourhoods as we all work together to ensure the safety of our community,” he said. The gunman allegedly behind the mosque shootings, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, is in a maximum-security prison in Auckland has been ordered to undergo psychiatric tests. Authorities have charged Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, with 50 counts of murder.

The mosque attacks shook New Zealand to its core and prompted the government to quickly tighten gun laws.

Agencies