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New Zealand PM’s office received gunman ‘manifesto’ minutes before massacre

17 March, 2019, 13:27 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Vigil for New Zealand mosque shooting

Workers dig grave sites at a cemetery in Christchurch on March 17, 2019 two days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city.

"Pakistan is proud of Mian Naeem Rashid who was martyred trying to tackle the white supremacist terrorist and his courage will be recognised with a national award", Khan wrote on Twitter on Sunday, while extending support to the families of the Pakistani victims.

The death toll in the New Zealand mosque shootings rose to 50 on Sunday when police found another body at one of the mosques, as families waited for authorities to formally identify victims and release their bodies for burial.

New Zealand, with a population of 5 million, has relatively loose gun laws and an estimated 1.5 million firearms, or roughly one for every three people.

"I was very happy to hear the prime minister's comments this morning that there will be a change in the gun law, but I can't say any more than that", he told reporters on Saturday.

For the time being, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant was charged with murder.

Police officials said they understand the religious duty of the Islamic faith to bury the deceased as soon as possible and are "working closely with the Chief Coroner to do everything possible to expedite the process".

The Pacific has reacted with sadness and shown solidarity for New Zealand after at least 49 people were killed in shootings at two Christchurch mosques yesterday.

Police rammed the suspect's vehicle and arrested him as he drove away from the second mosque in the suburb of Linwood.

Among the wounded, two were in critical condition, including a four-year-old child, said Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

Among New Zealand mosque victims: Parents, children and refugees
One man who said he was at the Al Noor mosque told media the gunman was white, blond and wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest. None of those arrested had appeared on a watchlist of New Zealand or Australian security agencies, police have confirmed.

President Donald Trump, who has a record of Islamophobic rhetoric, online behavior and policies, tweeted out his "warmest sympathy and best wishes" to the people of New Zealand.

"Ardern's performance has been extraordinary - and I believe she will be strongly lauded for it both domestically and internationally", said political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington.

Three people detained earlier were not involved, he said.

Rashid, from Abbottabad, Pakistan, and a New Zealand resident for nine years, was in the mosque with his 21-year-old son.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has spoken out on the mosque attacks.

"This is the mosque they always went to". Thirty-six people were still being treated on Saturday, 11 of whom remained in intensive care.

She promptly labelled the worst peacetime mass killing in New Zealand as terrorism, and set about reassuring a nation that has been largely unscathed by the violence and fears that have afflicted other countries in the past two decades.

The suspect had not been on the radar of security services in New Zealand or Australia. Two men faced charges unrelated or "tangential" to the attack, while a woman had been released, he said.

Ardern added that the gunman reportedly had five firearms on him when he carried out the assault - two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm.

"Our gun laws will change".

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