New Zealand shooting: Brenton Tarrant charged after 50 killed in attacks on two mosques in Christchurch

 - Mark Mitchell/NZ Herald
- Mark Mitchell/NZ Herald

The main suspect in mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques was charged with one count of murder on Saturday, a day after the attack that killed 49 people and wounded dozens.

Wearing handcuffs and a white prison shirt, Brenton Harrison Tarrant sat impassively as the judge read the charge against him.

Tarrant, an Australian-born former fitness instructor and self-professed fascist, did not request bail and was taken into custody until his next court appearance scheduled for April 5.

He was likely to face further charges, police said.

Brenton Tarrant, gestures as he is lead into the dock for his appearance for murder in the Christchurch District Court on March 16, 2019 - Credit: Getty
Brenton Tarrant, gestures as he is lead into the dock for his appearance for murder in the Christchurch District Court on March 16, 2019 Credit: Getty

A "right-wing extremist" armed with semi-automatic weapons, the 28-year-old suspect rampaged through two mosques in the quiet New Zealand city of Christchurch during afternoon prayers on Friday, killing 49 worshippers and wounding dozens more.

The attack, thought to be the deadliest against Muslims in the West in modern times, was immediately dubbed terrorism by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, as she led a shocked nation on one of its "darkest days."

The attacker live-streamed footage of himself going room-to-room, victim to victim, shooting the wounded from close range as they struggled to crawl away.

New Zealand shooting
Family members outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

Mr Tarrant allegedly published a racist "manifesto" on social media before the attack, featuring conspiracy theories about Europeans being displaced, and details of two years of preparation and radicalisation leading up to the shootings.

"It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack," said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned."

Two IEDs (improvised explosive devices) were found in a car and neutralised by the military, police said.

In Sydney, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the gunman as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist".

His two targets were the Masjid al Noor mosque, where 41 people died, and a second, smaller mosque in the suburb of Linwood, where seven more died. The remaining victim succumbed in hospital.

The dead were said to include women and children. Around 48 people were treated for gunshot wounds at Christchurch Hospital, including young children, with injuries ranging from critical to minor.

The survivors included 17 members of Bangladesh's cricket team, whose game against New Zealand on Saturday has been postponed, and a Palestinian man who fled for his life after seeing someone being shot in the head.

Ms Ardern vowed on Saturday to toughen the country's gun laws after revealing the alleged shooter had legally bought the five weapons, including two semi-automatic rifles, used in the massacre.

The nation's firearms laws are lax compared to neighbouring Australia, which enacted a strict gun control regime in the wake of a similar massacre in 1996.

Ms Ardern said  Tarrant obtained a "Category A" gun licence in November 2017 which allowed him to purchase the weapons used to mow down worshippers in two Christchurch mosques.

Some of the guns appear to have been modified to make them more deadly, she said, adding that a ban on semi-automatic weapons would be considered.

"The mere fact... that this individual had acquired a gun licence and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I'm committing to that," she told a press conference.

"I can tell you one thing right now - our gun laws will change."



Two police officers praised for arrest

A pair of rural New Zealand police officers dramatically arrested the suspected Christchurch gunman 36 minutes after authorities were alerted, it emerged on Saturday, as the prime minister hailed their bravery.

Jacinda Ardern said the alleged attacker, Brenton Tarrant, would surely have killed even more people were it not for the policemen.

"The offender was mobile, there were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in, and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack," Ardern told reporters in Christchurch.

Grainy video apparently shot from a passing car shows the gunman's light-coloured vehicle at the side of a busy road, rammed against the kerb by a police car and with one of its front wheels suspended in the air.

Two police officers - one of whom appears to be armed only with a handgun - can be seen pointing their weapons at the open passenger-side door.

"They were rural community cops I understand from Lincoln (a nearby town) who were present here. Anyone who has seen the footage... they put New Zealand first," Ardern said.

"The individual charged was in custody 36 minutes from receiving the first call," she said.

The officers can be seen dragging a black-clad figure away from the vehicle, as motorists slowly drove by on the other side of the city carriageway.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush also praised the officers who brought the massacre to a halt.

"I would also like to commend - and some of you would have seen, the brave actions on social media of police staff who responded to this incident," he said.

"I'm extremely proud of what they've done today."


Sayyad Milne was 'a typical Kiwi boy who loved playing football

Brydie Milne, the half-sister of 14-year-old victim Sayyad Milne, has described him as "a typical Kiwi boy who loved playing football", Claire Drake reports.

"He was just so kind and quietly gorgeous," Ms Milne, a mum of four living in the North Island, told The Telegraph. Sayyad was the youngest in the family.

He was at Al Noor mosque, on Deans Ave, with his mother when the massacre happened. Sayyad's mum was in a different part of the building and managed to escape the gunman; friends of the family reported seeing Sayyad "lying on the floor of the mosque, bleeding from his lower body," said Milne.

"It was a horrible situation. Imagine what his mum went through - leaving the mosque without him, not knowing if he was alive."

The family reported Sayyad missing and waited at home for updates. Milne said they didn't hold much hope for the teen's survival.

"Understandably they had to follow procedures. The bodies had to stay there over night. He wouldn’t have had any ID on him, like many people there," she said.

"His mum, his poor mum, and his brother and sister have just had a very long night and day waiting."

On Saturday afternoon Sayyad's parents were summoned to identify his body, said Ms Milne.

"I’m devastated for my family, that they won’t get their baby boy back," she said.

Milne said she would fly down to be with her Christchurch-based family on Sunday.

"It’s just unreal in little New Zealand. It’s so not real. It’s going to be very real when I get to Christchurch tomorrow."

In Dunedin, cordons have been lifted from Sommerville St, where police were investigating a potential connection with the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Police remain outside a house on Sommerville St, Dunedin, associated with gunman Brenton Trent. - Credit: Claire Drake
Police remain outside a house on Sommerville St, Dunedin, associated with gunman Brenton Trent. Credit: Claire Drake

Evacuated residents were allowed home on Saturday afternoon. Armed police remained outside at least one house, however.


'A brave little soldier': Boy, 14, dies

John Milne says his 14-year-old son Sayyad was among thise who died at the Al Noor Mosque.

Sayyad Milne was a student at Cashmere High School in Year 10 and attended the mosque every week with his mother and friends.

"I've lost my little boy, he's just turned 14," Mr Milne told NZME.

"I haven't heard officially yet that he's actually passed but I know he has because he was seen. [I'm] keeping it together and tears are helping. people are helping. Just by being here, it is helping."


Saudi citizen among the dead

A Saudi citizen has been confirmed as one of the victims of the attack.

The Saudi-owned satellite news channel Al-Arabiya reports one of two citizens of the kingdom wounded in the New Zealand mosque attack has died.

The channel, citing his family, said Mohsen al-Muzaini had succumbed to the wounds he suffered in the shooting on Friday.

The channel reported the second wounded Saudi, named as 19-year-old Aseel Ansari, was struck in the knee by a rifle round, but still was able to flee.


Australia 'bans Milo Yiannopoulos' from country

Australia has reportedly banned Milo Yiannopoulos from entering the country after the controversial right-wing commentator described Islam as a "barbaric" and "alien" religious culture in the wake of the Christchurch attack.

The decision was made on Saturday morning, The Age reported.

In a Facebook post overnight, Mr Yiannopoulos, who was due to tour Australia later this year, said: "Attacks like this happen because the establishment panders to and mollycoddles extremist leftism and barbaric, alien religious cultures. Not when someone dares to point it out."

Earlier, Labor frontbencher Tony Burke said: "Surely the Liberal government is still not going to issue a visa to someone so he can conduct a tour to promote hatred against Muslims."


'We still love this country'

An imam who was leading prayers at a Christchurch mosque when a gunman brandishing semi-automatic weapons mowed down his congregation said the Muslim community's love for New Zealand would not be shaken by the massacre.

"We still love this country," said Ibrahim Abdul Halim, imam of Linwood Mosque, vowing that extremists would "never ever touch our confidence".

A message is displayed at a makeshift memorial outside Christchurch hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand - Credit: AP
A message is displayed at a makeshift memorial outside Christchurch hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand Credit: AP

Halim gave a harrowing account of the moment during Friday prayers when gunshots rang out in the mosque, replacing peaceful reflection with screaming, bloodshed and death.

"Everyone laid down on the floor, and some women started crying, some people died immediately," he said.

But, he said, New Zealand Muslims still felt at home in the south Pacific nation.

"My children live here" he said, adding, "we are happy".

He said the majority of New Zealanders "are very keen to support all of us, to give us full solidarity", describing how strangers exchanged hugs with him on Saturday.

"They start to... give me big hug, and give me more solidarity. This is something very important."


Ardern reiterates promise to change gun laws

Ardern reiterated her promise that gun laws would change in New Zealand, and said the firearms used in the mosque shootings appear to have been modified.

"New Zealanders will question how someone can come into being in possession of weapons of this nature.

"The guns used in this case appear to have been modified. That's a challenge police have been facing and a challenge we will look to address in changing laws."

She added: "There are a raft of issues on the table that I think we need to look at. We need to include modification of guns which can lead them to becoming essentially the kinds of weapons we've seen used in this terrorist attack."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media in Christchurch - Credit: Getty
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media in Christchurch Credit: Getty



Ardern: Suspect intended to continue rampage

Jacinda Ardern has spoken with the media during a visit to Christchurch.

The Prime Minister said the main suspect in New Zealand's worst peacetime mass shooting intended to continue the rampage before he was caught by police.

"The offender was mobile, there were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in, and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack.

"I'm not privileged to a full breakdown at this point but it is clear that young children have been caught up in this horrific attack."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with Muslim community representatives in Christchurch on Saturday - Credit: Getty
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with Muslim community representatives in Christchurch on Saturday Credit: Getty



First victim identified

The first of the 49 victims to be identified was 71-year-old Afghan Daoud Nabi.

Outside the court where Tarrant was charged, his son demanded justice for his late father, who believed New Zealand to be a "slice of paradise."

"It's outrageous, the feeling is outrageous," he said. "It's beyond imagination."

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the victims came from across the Muslim world, with Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia among the countries rendering consular assistance.

One Saudi citizen and two Jordanians were among the dead, while five Pakistani citizens were missing.


Hospital chief gives update on the wounded

Christchurch Hospital chief Greg Robertson says seven of the 48 gunshot victims admitted after Friday's mosque shootings in have been discharged.

Roberson says a four-year-old girl who has been transferred to an Auckland hospital in critical condition and 11 patients who remain in Christchurch are also critically wounded.

"We have had patients with injuries to most parts of the body that range from relatively superficial soft tissue injuries to more complex injuries involving the chest, the abdomen, the pelvis, the long bones and the head."

He says many patients will require multiple operations to deal with their complex series of injuries.


Suspect was apprehended 36 minutes after first emergency call

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said on Saturday that officers were searching the suspected attacker's residence in the city of Dunedin.

He added that it took just 36 minutes from the initial emergency call before the offender was in custody.

Four people were taken into custody following the attack on Friday, one of whom was released a short time later.

Mr Bush said two of them were arrested at a cordon, and that police were currently working to establish whether they had had any involvement in the incident.

He also praised his officers for their brave actions in the wake of the tragedy, adding: "Their intervention may likely have saved further lives."


New Zealanders reach out to Muslim neighbours with acts of kindness

On Saturday, people across New Zealand were reaching out to Muslims in their communities on social media to volunteer acts of kindness.

Many offered rides to the grocery store or volunteered to walk with them if they felt unsafe.

In other forums, people discussed Muslim food restrictions as they prepared to drop off meals for those affected.

The prime minister said the attack reflected "extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand."

Immigrants "have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home," Ardern said. "They are us."


How Brenton Tarrant's hate spread across social media



Suspect's family helping police

Australian police say the family of the suspect in the New Zealand mosque shootings is helping their investigation.

New South Wales state Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says his officers are investigating to help New Zealand police and to ensure the safety of residents in the Australian state where suspect Brenton Tarrant is from.

Fuller says Tarrant's family is from the northern New South Wales town of Grafton and contacted police after seeing media reports of the shootings that killed at least 49.

Fuller says Tarrant has spent little time in Australia in the past four years.

Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Mick Willing says Tarrant was only known to police for "minor traffic matters."

Willing says there's no information to suggest any further threat in New Zealand or Australia.


Suspect pictured in court

Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder, made a sign to the camera during his appearance in the Christchurch District Court in New Zealand.

The suspect was remanded without plea until his next appearance in the High Court on April 5.

Brenton Tarrant appears in the Christchurch District Court - Credit: Reuters
Brenton Tarrant appears in the Christchurch District Court Credit: Reuters



Sajid Javid  left 'sick to the stomach' by New Zealand attack

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he has been left "sick to the stomach" by the terror attack in New Zealand.

Writing in the Express, Mr Javid called the attack "heart-breaking".

He added: "Sick to the stomach by the massacre of 49 innocent worshippers as they attended Friday prayers.

"They were simply targeted for being Muslims, as they paid respects to God.

"My own late father never missed Friday prayers. I often joined him, and I fondly look back on the peaceful moments we shared."


Christchurch suspect appears in court charged with murder

New Zealand police tweeted that the suspect has now appeared in court in Christchurch.

There was no detail given of any plea entered.

The force tweeted: "While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid. Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity."

Police added that 45 additional officers were deployed to Christchurch from other districts, with another 80 being drafted in today.

They tweeted: "A complex investigation is under way into this terrible attack, and Police have a number of a priorities today in terms of investigation and intelligence gathering.

"However another absolute focus for us is to ensure that the victims of this attack, including family members and loved ones of those killed and injured, have the best possible structures in place to provide support and welfare."

Media gathered outside the district court in Christchurch - Credit: Edgar Su/Reuters
Media gathered outside the district court in Christchurch Credit: Edgar Su/Reuters



Police begin search of scene

New Zealand police are beginning a detailed search of the scenes of yesterday's attacks in the hope of uncovering more clues.

Police officers prepare to search the area near the Masjid Al Noor mosque, site of one of the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch - Credit: Mark Baker/AP
Police officers prepare to search the area near the Masjid Al Noor mosque, site of one of the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch Credit: Mark Baker/AP



Secretary General of the Muslim World League condemns attack

Sheikh Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Alissa said: "The Muslim World League condemns the attacks in New Zealand's mosques that has claimed the lives of dozens of innocent worshipers and left many others seriously wounded.

"The Muslim World League also expresses its deep grief and condolences for the families, friends and communities of the victims.

"Terrorist attacks against people of faith are one of the most inhumane and evil forms of incitement and hatred.

"The barbarity, hatred and ill will of this extremist terrorist act parallels the violent acts of Al-Qaeda and Daesh.

"In the face of such evil, the global community can answer only with the values of love, harmony and peace."


Jacinda Ardern ends her speech

Ms Ardern said: "I want to finish by saying that while the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers.

"As is the entire nation, we are all unified in grieving together."

Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand speaks on Saturday morning in Wellington - Credit:  Mark Tantrum/Getty
Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand speaks on Saturday morning in Wellington Credit: Mark Tantrum/Getty

She added: "Rhetoric of racism, division and extremism has no place not only in New Zealand but I would say in a society as a whole."


PM of New Zealand details attacker

Jacinta Ardern said that three people have been arrested over the attack, including an Australian who has been charged with murder.

She said:

"This individual has travelled around the world with sporadic periods of time spent in New Zealand.

"They were not a resident of Christchurch, in fact they were currently based in Dunedin at the time of this event.

"Inquiries are ongoing to establish whether the other two who were arrested were directly involved with this incident.

"The forth person who was arrested yesterday was a member of the public who was in possession of a firearm, but with the intention of assisting police.

"They have since been released."


More from Jacinda Arden

She said: "Our gun laws will change.

"There were attempts to change the law in 2005 and 2012, and after an inquiry in 2017.

"Now is the time for change."

Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand



New Zealand's prime minister holding press conference

Jacinda Ardern says that the suspected killer had five firearms.

  • She said there were two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm.

  • He had obtained a gun licence in November 2017.


Trump: There's no rising white nationalism in the US

Donald Trump has said he does not see a rise in white nationalism - but it may be an issue in New Zealand.

Asked by a reporter if he sees an increase in white nationalism, Mr Trump said: "I don't really. I think it’s a small group of people."

White supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. Mr Trump said of the conflict that there were "very fine people on both sides"

Mr Trump also said he had not seen a manifesto in which the suspected gunman denounced immigrants and praised Mr Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose."


Trump tweets: "We love you, New Zealand!"



Donald Trump to address the crisis shortly

The White House has announced he will speak at 3:30pm local time (7:30pm UK).

Donald Trump will speak on Friday from the White House



Gay pride suspended

Organisers of the Wellington International Pride Parade have suspended the event

In a statement they said:

"We, like all New Zealanders, are hurting today. We don't want terrorists to win, we don't want terrorists to dictate how we live our lives.

"If we were to proceed, we would divert crucial emergency services away from their duty."

Organisers of Wellington's Out in the Park gay fair have also cancelled their event.

"Police strongly advise we not proceed with our events this weekend in the interest of public safety.

"Thank you to the many people and groups who have been in touch to discuss what we can collectively do to acknowledge this act of hatred."


Latest photos from Christchurch

Armed police officers stand guard in a perimeter outside Al Noor mosque



Bulgaria investigates gunman's travel to the country

Prosecutors in Bulgaria on Friday launched a probe into a recent visit to the country by the Australian man alleged to be the gunman.

The suspected assailant visited Bulgaria from November 9-15 last year claiming he wanted "to visit historical sites and study the history of the Balkan country," Bulgaria's chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said.

He said the inquiry would establish if this was "correct or if he had other objectives".

An image from the alleged gunman's social media

According to investigators, the man arrived in Sofia from Dubai on November 9 and hired a car the following day to visit historical sites in ten locations.

He left on November 15 on a flight bound for Bucharest where he hired a car to travel to Hungary, Mr Tsatsarov said.

The Australian had also made a short visit to the Balkans from December 28-30, 2016, travelling by bus across Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sofia said it was in contact with authorities in the US, New Zealand, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Montenegro over the matter.


Four Pakistanis injured and five missing: foreign ministry spokesman



Trudeau: "Far too often, Muslims suffer unimaginable loss and pain in the places where they should feel safest"

Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has expressed sympathy for the victims.

“Canadians across the country were appalled to wake up to news of the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed and injured so many people, including children.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends who lost loved ones in this senseless tragedy. To the people of New Zealand and to Muslim communities around the world: you are in our hearts and minds. We join in your grief and stand with you at this incredibly difficult time.

Justin Trudeau

“Far too often, Muslims suffer unimaginable loss and pain in the places where they should feel safest. Canada remembers too well the sorrow we felt when a senseless attack on the Centre culturel islamique de Québec in Ste-Foy claimed the lives of many innocent people gathered in prayer.

“To move forward as a world, we need to recognize diversity as a source of strength, and not a threat. Last night’s victims were fathers, mothers, and children. They were neighbours, friends, and family members. As with every life taken too soon, the full measure of their loss will never be known.

“Canada condemns this attack, and will continue to work closely with New Zealand, our close partner and friend, and others to take action against violent extremism. Hate has no place anywhere. We must all confront Islamophobia and work to create a world in which all people—no matter their faith, where they live, or where they were born—can feel safe and secure.”


First of two Bangladeshi victims named

One of the two Bangladeshis killed in the Christchurch attack has been identified by local media.

The Dhaka Tribune identified him as Dr Md Abdus Samad, from Kurigram.

Al Noor
The Al Noor mosque in Christchurch

The paper said he was the eldest among 10 siblings, according to his younger brother AKM Shamsuddin, who lives in Nageshwari Upazila in Kurigram.

Mr Shamsuddin said he learned of his brother’s death soon after the attack.

Dr Samad formerly taught agricultural economics at Bangladesh Agricultural University. Around a decade ago, he migrated to New Zealand with his wife and their two sons.

Mr Shamsuddin, citing another brother Abdul Kader, claimed Dr Samad’s wife and sons are unhurt.


Afghan president condemns "evil"  attack



UN Secretary-General "appalled"


Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General



Swedish mother responds to gunman's manifesto

From Sweden, Richard Orange writes:

In his racist Twitter manifesto, Tarrant had claimed to want "to take revenge for Ebba Akerlund", the 11-year-old victim of 2017's Stockholm terror attack, even writing her name on the gun he used.

But Åkerlund's mother Jeanette Akerlund told the Expressen newspaper that it was "extremely tragic" that her daughter's name was being "misused in political propaganda".

"I never would have even have been able to conceive that someone would write my daughter's name on a rifle," her father Stefan Akerlund added.

"This goes against everything Ebba stood for," Mrs Akerlund told Swedish state broadcaster SVT. "I  suffer in sympathy with the families who have been struck by this. I reject violence in all situations. Violence is not the solution."


"Pakistan views this terrorist attack as an assault on freedom"

From our correspondent in Pakistan, Ben Farmer.

The Pakistani foreign ministry has issued a statement:

Pakistan condemns in the strongest possible terms, the heinous terrorist attack earlier today on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that resulted in loss of over 40 innocent lives, and critical injury to 20 others.

At this difficult moment, the people and government of Pakistan stand in solidarity with the people and government of New Zealand, the bereaved families and the affected community. We express our deepest condolences on the loss of precious lives, and pray for quick recovery of the wounded.

Pakistan views this terrorist attack as an assault on the values of freedom of conscience and association common to all mankind. Pakistan earnestly hopes that the government of New Zealand will take immediate action to bring the perpetrators and abettors of this terror attack to justice, and ensure the safety and security of the affected communities.

Our High Commission in New Zealand is in touch with the concerned authorities in New Zealand to obtain further details. Contact number of the focal person in the High Commission has been circulated.


White House condemns attack



Mosque gunman referenced Quebec City shooting

On Wednesday, the Twitter handle @brentontarrant tweeted pictures of one of the guns apparently later used in the attacks, writes Christopher Guly in Ottawa.

It was covered in white lettering, featuring the names of others who had committed race- or religion-based killings. It included the phrase: "Here's Your Migration Compact."

The attached photo of rifle ammunition appeared on the suspect’s since-deleted Twitter account. Those mentioned include Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette, who shot and killed six men in a Quebec City mosque on Jan, 29, 2017.


India sends its condolences

Our correspondent in Delhi,  Saptarshi Ray, writes:

The Indian ministry of external affairs in New Delhi has issued a statement condemning the attacks.

“The Prime Minister has expressed his deep shock and sadness at the loss of scores of innocent lives in the heinous terrorist attack at the places of worship in Christchurch today. 

“In a letter addressed to H. E. Ms. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, he expressed his deepest condolences to the families bereaved in this dastardly attack, offered heartfelt prayers for the speedy recovery of the injuried and underscored India’s solidarity with the friendly people of New Zealand at this difficult time. 

“The Prime Minister stressed India’s strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and of all those who support such acts of violence. He stressed that hatred and violence have no place in diverse and democratic societies.”


Downing Street flies flag at half mast for New Zealand shooting victims



Dukes and Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex: Our hearts go out to grieving families

The Dukes and Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex have condemned the "horrifying assault" on worshipers at two mosques in ChristChurch, New Zealand.

The Sussexes toured the country only last year and were warmly received on their many engagements. The Cambridges also visited the country with the infant Prince George in 2014.

A joint statement from Kensington Palace said: "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch.

"We have all been fortunate to spend time in Christchurch and have felt the warm, open-hearted and generous spirit that is core to its remarkable people.

"No person should ever have to fear attending a sacred place of worship.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Tamatekapua meeting in Rotorua, New Zealand, during their tour of the country in October - Credit: Getty
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Tamatekapua meeting in Rotorua, New Zealand, during their tour of the country in October Credit: Getty

"This senseless attack is an affront to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand, and the broader Muslim community. It is a horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship.

"We know that from this devastation and deep mourning, the people of New Zealand will unite to show that such evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance.

"We send our thoughts and prayers to everyone in New Zealand today."


Christchurch hospital surgeons working into the night to save victims

Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates has told the New Zealand Herald that surgeons in Christchurch are working into the night to save victims of the two mosque shootings.

He said: "What we have been dealing with today is 48 gunshot wounds that were presented at Christchurch Hospital. So we have had 12 operating theatres that have been operating since this afternoon and will be continuing through until about midnight."

Patients' gunshot injuries ranged from "really critically injured" through to lesser wounds.

Mr Meates added: "With the size and scale of the operations we are doing today, many of those will end up having multiple operations over the coming days and weeks due to the nature of the wounds they have got."

Victim arriving at hospital in Christchurch following the shootings - Credit: AFP
Victim arriving at hospital in Christchurch following the shootings Credit: AFP

Meates said a "mass casualty plan" had been activated. "It is something that we plan for and hope we never have to activate, and we have had to activate that today," he said.

"That involves us pulling in surgeons, nurses, doctors, support staff to enable us to respond, and we start deferring non-critical surgeries."

Meates said there had been over 200 family members on site at the hospital today.

"We have been working really closely with the Muslim community, police and other agencies to make sure we have the appropriate support structures in place," he said

The hospital would accommodate families who needed to stay there overnight.


Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall 'utterly horrified' by New Zealand shootings

The Prince of Wales has expressed his horror at the "barbaric attacks" on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, calling it a "cruel and tragic loss" of life.

The Prince, 70, who is set to become the country's head of state when he succeeds the Queen, also said he knew New Zealand "will never allow hate and division to triumph".

He said: "Both my wife and I were utterly horrified to hear of the most barbaric attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, which resulted in the cruel and tragic loss of so many people’s lives.

"It is beyond all belief that so many should have been killed and injured at their place of worship and our most special and heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives.

"This appalling atrocity is an assault on all of us who cherish religious freedom, tolerance, compassion and community.  I know that the people of New Zealand will never allow hate and division to triumph over these things they hold dear. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families, the first responders, the people of Christchurch and all New Zealanders at this most heartbreaking of times. "



Social media companies told 'enough is enough' over extremist content

Social media companies are coming over mounting pressure for hosting content from the suspects in the New Zealand shooting.

A live stream of the attack at the Al Noor mosque was posted on Facebook, with clips later appearing on YouTube, which is owned by Google. Facebook has removed the footage and deleted the account, while YouTube has now removed the initial clips and said it is monitoring to find any new ones uploaded.

Suspect Brenton Tarrant also posted pictures of guns on his Twitter account, which has since been deleted, days before the attack.

This afternoon Home Secretary Sajid Javid criticised YouTube, Google, Facebook and Twitter saying "enough is enough" and that they needed to "take some ownership"

Number 10 has also called on tech giants to "act more quickly" to remove terrorist material.

In a statement, a Downing St spokesperson said: “Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other providers have taken action to remove the video and other propaganda related to the attack.

“The Government has been clear that all companies need to act more quickly to remove terrorist content.

“There should be no safe spaces for terrorists to promote and share their extreme views and radicalise others”.

Social media companies have also come in for criticism from MPs such as senior Conservative backbencher Damian Collins and Shadow Culture Secretary, Tom Watson.


Attacks took place three miles apart

The attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, which left 49 dead and more than 20 seriously wounded, took place just three miles apart.


Pope Francis saddened by "senseless acts"

Pope Francis has said he is saddened by the "senseless acts" in New Zealand, after 49 people have been killed in two shootings at mosques in the city of Christchurch.

The pontiff said he was praying for the dozens seriously injured in the attacks and "for all affected by this tragedy".

A statement released by the Vatican said: "His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and loss of life caused by the senseless acts of violence at two Mosques in Christchurch, and he assures all New Zealanders, and in particular the Muslim community, of his heartfelt solidarity in the wake of these attacks.

"Mindful of the efforts of the security and emergency personnel in this difficult situation, His Holiness prays for the healing of the injured, the consolation of those who grieve the loss of their loved ones, and for all affected by this tragedy.

"Commending those who have died to the loving mercy of Almighty God, Pope Francis invokes the divine blessings of comfort and strength upon the nation."


All Blacks star pays tearful tribute to victims

All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams has paid an emotional tribute to the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

The 33-year-old rugby player, who is a practising Muslim, appeared tearful in a video posted from his car on Twitter, saying: "I just heard the news and I couldn't put it into words how I am feeling right now..."

He later added: "You guys are all in paradise and I am deeply, deeply saddened that this would happen in New Zealand"


Where the attacks happened


Her Majesty offers condolences

The Queen has said she is "deeply saddened" by the events in Christchurch.

The monarch, who is New Zealand's head of state,  said:  "I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives.

"I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured.

"At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders.”


Worshipper recounts how he was 'last person to get out alive'

Eye-witness Ramzan Ali was was at the Masjid Al Noor mosque, he told the New Zealand Herald that he was "the last person to get out of the mosque alive".

"I saw people running for all the doors," he said. "To get 300 people out of the doorways was not easy - out of two doorways, because he entered through the main door, and there were two more doors on the sides.

Ramzan Ali - Credit: Getty
Ramzan Ali Credit: Getty

He said that the shooting stopped and restarted seven times as the shooter kept reloading ammunition.

"He just started shooting - 'bang, bang, bang'. My cousin was sitting beside me and he got hit in his leg."


Mosque shooter says attack inspired by Anders Breivik

Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian who was a gunman in the New Zealand terror attacks, described himself as an “ordinary white man” who was inspired by Norway mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik and wanted to avenge “thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders”.

Tarrant, who filmed himself attacking a Christchurch mosque in a Facebook Live video, posted a 74-page manifesto in which he claims to be from a “working class, low income family”.

New Zealand shooting suspect Brenton Tarrant said the attacks were inspired by Anders Behring-Breivik - Credit: AFP
New Zealand shooting suspect Brenton Tarrant said the attacks were inspired by Anders Behring Breivik Credit: AFP

He said he was of Scottish, Irish and English stock and moved to New Zealand temporarily to plan and train and then stayed there after deciding to conduct the attack.

Read full story here.


New Zealand police begin to spread the net wide

Police say they are still dealing with "what is an unprecedented event for New Zealand".

The force has also said that officers have evacuated two streets in the southern city of Dunedin as they search a property in relation to the Christchurch shootings.


UK-based YouTuber 'sickened' to be namechecked by suspect on Facebook

Brighton-based YouTuber, Felix Kjellberg, who is known as PewDiePie on the vlogging platform, said he was "absolutely sickened" to be named by one of the suspects in New Zealand attacks.

YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, known as PewDiePie - Credit: YouTube
YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, known as PewDiePie Credit: YouTube

One of the suspects live-streamed the shooting on Facebook and was heard to say "Remember, lads, subscribe to PewDiePie.” Facebook has since removed the video and deleted the suspect's account.

The reference was to a viral challenge started by fans of Kjellberg, who has nearly 90 million subscribers, to keep him as the biggest YouTube channel.  In recent months, PewDiePie fans have been making the slogan appear in various public places in an attempt to stop the Swedish vlogger being overtaken by an Indian music YouTube channel.

This morning Kjellberg tweeted his disgust that his name was used and said his "heart goes out to the victims".


Met Police offers to support New Zealand colleagues

The Metropolitan Police's national lead for Counter Terrorism, Neil Basu, has said police are today stepping up "reassurance patrols" around UK mosques and added the force was "ready to support" their New Zealand colleagues.

He said: “We are monitoring events in New Zealand closely and send our condolences to all those affected. Our international network of UK counter terrorism officers will be ready to support our counterparts in New Zealand in responding to and investigating this appalling attack.

“We stand together with all our communities and partners here in the UK and overseas, and will continue to work with them to counter the threat no matter where it comes from. "


Christchurch mayor: Our city has changed forever

The mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel, has said she is "heartbroken" by the attacks on two mosques in her city, which have left 49 dead.

In a statement she said: “Our city has changed forever today. It is beyond belief that something like this should happen in our city and in New Zealand,'' the Mayor says.

“Christchurch is a city that welcomes people from all cultures, religions and backgrounds and it breaks my heart to see this happen in our city.

People waiting for news outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, following the shooting  - Credit: AP/Mark Baker
People wait for news outside the mosque in central Christchurch following the mass shooting Credit: AP/Mark Baker

“It is clear that an extremist moved here with the intention of carrying out a premeditated attack. The fact so many of our residents died is just devastating.

“We are all shocked and saddened by today’s events and our hearts go out to the victims and their families."


Met steps up police presence around London mosques

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the Metropolitan Police will maintain a "high visible" presence around London mosques as Muslims head to prayers today.


Australian PM brands senator's comments 'disgusting' for linking attack to 'fear of increasing Muslim presence'

Far right Australian Senator, Fraser Anning, has provoked anger by issuing an statement hours after the shootings saying they “highlight the growing fear within our community of the increasing Muslim presence.”

Queensland senator Fraser Anning - Credit: Mick Tsikas
Queensland senator Fraser Anning Credit: Mick Tsikas

The independent representative from Queensland said: “I am utterly opposed to any form of violence within our community, and I totally condemn the actions of the gunman.

“However, whilst this kind of violent vigilantism can never be justified, what it highlights is the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence.”

The comments have been branded "disgusting" by Australia's Prime Minister,  Scott Morrison.


Theresa May offers condolences to New Zealans of behalf of the UK


Death toll rises to 49

One male in his late twenties has been charged with murder, and two others are in custody on possession of firearms, Christchurch Police Commissioner confirms. The death toll now stands at 49.


Jeremy Hunt offers condolences to New Zealand friends

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "Our hearts go out to the people of New Zealand following the news of this terrible act in Christchurch.

"NZ is one of the most peaceful, peace-loving and generous nations in the world.

"Your friends in the UK stand with you today in deepest sympathy."


Image of mosque gunman

This still image taken from a video which goes on to show first-person footage from the first mosque shooting, purports to show the gunman on his way to carry out the attack.

A still image taken from video circulated on social media, apparently taken by a gunman and posted online live as the attack unfolded - Credit: Reuters
A still image taken from video circulated on social media, apparently taken by a gunman and posted online live as the attack unfolded Credit: Reuters



Suspects were not on any terror watchlist

Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand had been placed on its highest security threat level.

She said the four people in police custody held extremist views, but had not been on any police watchlists.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaking on live television following the attacks in Christchurch  - Credit: Reuters
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaking on live television following the attacks in Christchurch Credit: Reuters

Speaking during a press conference Ardern said: "I think we should be vigilant against the idea of extreme ideology and extreme violence and violent acts."

She added: "You'll notice from the language that you hear from those who work in our intelligence and security services that their focus is on extremism regardless of where it comes from.

"We need to be blind in that regard. It needs to be absolutely focused on threat and ideology and extremism, because obviously that is what we have experienced here today."


New Zealand PM says 40 dead in terror attack

New Zealand's Prime Minister says 40 people were killed and another 20 have been seriously injured in the Christchurch mosque attacks.

She described the attack as "well planned terror attacks"


"It was 1.42pm and the guns started shooting"

Eyewitnesses describe the moment the first mosque was attacked:


One Christchurch shooting suspect is Australian

One of four people detained in New Zealand after today's mass shootings in Christchurch is Australian, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

"I can confirm that the individual who was taken into custody I have been advised is an Australian-born citizen," he told reporters in Sydney.

"As family members with our New Zealand cousins today, 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."


New Zealand mosques asked to close

Police have asked all mosques across the country to shut their doors today after the devastating attacks in Christchurch.

Three men and one woman are now confirmed to be in police custody, however police have said they are not assuming the incident is contained.


Gunman reportedly streamed live video of attack

A Facebook Live video that shows a clean-shaven, Caucasian man with short hair driving to a mosque, then shooting as he enters the building was circulating online after the attacks.

The gunman continues to shoot at people inside the mosque, some of whom were trying to flee while others were huddled in corners of the building, according to the copy of the video that AFP found on YouTube.

AFP confirmed the video was genuine through a digital investigation that included matching screenshots of the mosque taken from the gunman's footage with multiple images available online showing the same areas.

Facebook has since suspended the account that posted the video and condemned the attack.


Lockdown lifted after Christchurch mosque attacks

New Zealand police on Friday lifted a lockdown put in place after deadly armed assaults on two Christchurch mosques, allowing frantic parents to pick up their children.

"Police can now confirm the lock down of schools throughout Christchurch has been lifted," New Zealand Police said in a statement.


Four in custody as police discover IEDs in attack

New Zealand police say 3 men and 1 woman are now in custody over shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.

Police have also confirmed they found and secured IEDs amid the attacks.


New Zealand v Bangladesh cricket Test cancelled

New Zealand and Bangladesh have cancelled the third cricket Test after the Bangladeshi team were caught up in one of the mosque shootings.

"A joint decision between NZC and the @BCBtigers has been made to cancel the Hagley Oval Test," the New Zealand team tweeted, adding that all players and officials were safe.

The third and final Test was scheduled to start on Saturday at Christchurch's Hagley Oval. New Zealand won the first two games in the series.

Bangladeshi players and team staff arrived at the city's Masjid al Noor for Friday prayers as a shooting unfolded and were warned not to go inside.


'Extremely distressing' footage of attack

New Zealand police warned that "extremely distressing footage" existed relating to a deadly mosque shooting in Christchurch on Friday, and urged that it not be shared.

"Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online," New Zealand police said in a Twitter post.

"We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed."


Schools remain on lockdown

New Zealand police have reminded parents that all schools in Christchurch remain on lockdown, and will only communicate with police at this stage.

Parents were assured that children are being cared for by schools, and "the safety of the community is our priority".


Witness describes scene inside mosque

Witness Mohan Ibrahim said he was one of 200 people in the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue when he heard shots fired.

He told the New Zealand Herald: "At first we thought it was an electric shock but then all these people started running."

"I still have friends inside," he added.

"I have been calling my friends but there are many I haven't heard from. I am scared for my friends' lives."

Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch - Credit: MARK BAKER/AP
Armed police patrol outside a mosque in central Christchurch Credit: MARK BAKER/AP


New Zealand Prime Minister stands with migrants

A solemn Jacinda Ardern called Friday's attack "an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence," calling migrants that have chosen New Zealand as their home "us".

"Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here," Ardern said.

"They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not."

"They should have been in a safe environment," she said.


Police mobilising resources across country in response to 'tragic incident'


New Zealand Prime Minister says may be 'other offenders'

Jacinda Ardern says there may be 'other offenders' in Christchurch shootings as the Prime Minister calls this 'one of New Zealand's darkest days'.


Police confirm fatalities at two locations

New Zealand police have confirmed 'multiple fatalities' at two locations in Christchurch.

Police said they have one person in custody, but do not know at this stage if there are more suspects on the loose,

Police have warned worshippers not to visit mosques 'anywhere in New Zealand'.


Witness describes seeing multiple people dead or injured

Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at about 1:45 p.m. and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.

Mr Peneha, who lives next door to the mosque, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in Peneha's driveway, and fled.

Mr Peneha said he then went into the mosque to try and help.

"I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque," he said. "It's unbelievable nutty. I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It's ridiculous."

He said he helped about five people recover in his home. He said one was slightly injured.

"I've lived next door to this mosque for about five years and the people are great, they're very friendly," he said. "I just don't understand it."

He said the gunman was white and was wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top, giving him a military-type appearance.


Mass climate change rally for children taking place nearby attack

The city council is offering a helpline for parents looking for children attending a mass climate change rally nearby the shooting.

"Please do not try and come and collect your children until police say it is safe for people to come into the central city," they said.


New Zealand media reporting shooting at a second Christchurch mosque

New Zealand media say a shooting has occurred in a second mosque in the city of Christchurch.

No details were immediately available.

Earlier Friday afternoon, police had urged people to stay indoors as authorities responded to a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque.

A neighbor described mass casualties inside the mosque and said he saw the gunman flee.


Bangladeshi cricket team tweet they are safe

Bangladeshi cricketer Mushfiqur Rahim  has tweeted to say he and his teammates who were in the mosque during the shooting are safe.

He wrote: Alhamdulillah Allah save us today while shooting in Christchurch in the mosque...we r extremely lucky...never want to see this things happen again....pray for us