Death toll in New Zealand mosque attacks rises to 50

Lester Mason
March 17, 2019

Tarrant, who posted an anti-immigrant manifesto online and apparently used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live video of the slaughter in the city of Christchurch, appeared to make a hand sign, similar to an OK sign, that is sometimes associated with white nationalists.

Tarrant was remanded into custody and is expected to appear in court again on April 5.

Authorities implemented extra security measures.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush announced the latest death in a news conference Sunday.

Muslims account for just over one percent of New Zealand's population, while there are about 200,000 Indians or people of Indian origin in the Pacific island nation.

She said attempts had been made to change New Zealand's [gun] laws in 2005, 2012 and in 2017 following an inquiry.

Police presence in Christchurch and around the country was heightened while families arrived to streets near the mosques with tributes for the victims.

The death toll in Friday's shooting at two mosques in New Zealand has risen by one to 50 people.

Why was the country, thought of as among the most peaceful in the world, singled out for a horrifying terrorist attack?

Two people from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia were wounded, the countries' embassies confirmed and at least three Turkish citizens were wounded, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Sabri Daraghmeh said by phone from Jordan on Saturday that the girl, Elin, remains "in the danger phase" and that her father, Waseem - Sabri's brother - is in stable condition. He was shot in the abdomen and the leg.

"I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change", Ardern told reporters, saying a ban on semi-automatic weapons would be considered.

Speaking to media in Wellington earlier, Ardern stressed that "now was the time for change".

"We grieve, we are shocked, we are appalled, we are outraged, and we stand here and condemn absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist".

"I live in New Zealand because the first time I came here in 2011, I found a place that was heaven on earth and I chose to bring my family to live here in peace, away from all the troubles", a Palestinian man said. 39 remain in the hospital, 11 of whom are in the ICU, Ardern said.

A police spokesperson in the Australian state of New South Wales said Tarrant's family have been "assisting and cooperating" with authorities.

A teary-eyed Ardern said she brought messages of love, support and grief on behalf of all New Zealanders to the crowd gathered at Canterbury Refugee Resettlement and Resources Centre.

None of those arrested had a criminal history or was on any watchlist in New Zealand or Australia. The other two remain in custody but their role in the shootings remains unclear. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all said they had taken steps to remove copies of the videos.

He says one of those people has been released and the other has been charged with firearms offences.

A total of four people were arrested following the massacre - one of whom was in possession of a firearm but with the intention of assisting police, and was released a short time later.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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