Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Student pilot, takeaway store owner among victims of NZ mosque shootings

Student pilot, takeaway store owner among victims of NZ mosque shootings

NZ Police Commissioner Mike Bush revealed on Sunday the body of the 50th victim had been found in the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue on Saturday night.

An overwhelmed hospital was forced to delay surgeries as it struggled to cope with the sheer number of wounded.

Thirty-four people were in Christchurch Hospital, with 12 in intensive care, while one child was moved to a dedicated children's hospital in Auckland.

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Mohamed Hassan, a journalist who lived in New Zealand for most of his life, says Muslims have been grieving alongside numerous other communities. Gunmen opened fire in two separate mosques in Christchurch on Friday, killing 49 people and wounding 48 others.

Condemning the terror strike, Ardern had described it as a "terror attack" and said it "appears to have been well planned".

"I haven't spoken to her directly but she has reached out, [and given] an acknowledgment of what has occurred here in New Zealand".

"This is one of New Zealand's darkest days", New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said.

Questions have been raised about why Tarrant had appeared on a watchlist of New Zealand or Australian security agencies. Another seven people were killed at Linwood mosque and one more person died later at Christchurch Hospital. "Forgiving is going to take time", Omar Nabi, whose father Haji Daoud Nabi was gunned down, told reporters outside the Christchurch court.

"She came here for the peace.now she is shocked", he said, adding his mother was too afraid to leave her house.

"That is an area in which I am seeking advice", she said.

Neighboring Australia has virtually banned semi-automatic rifles from private ownership since a lone gunman killed 35 people with assault rifles in 1996.

Ardern has vowed to change the country's gun laws and to uncover how a self-avowed extremist legally purchased two semi-automatic weapons, reportedly AR-15s, two shotguns and a lever-action gun without drawing the attention of the authorities.

"Now is the time for change", Ardern argued.

Tarrant, 28, who was living in Dunedin but is from Grafton, NSW, has been charged with one count of murder.

The New Zealand Red Cross has published a list of missing persons on its website.

New Zealand has in the past tried to tighten firearm laws, but a strong gun lobby and culture of hunting has stymied such efforts. The minimum legal age to own a gun in New Zealand is 16, or 18 for military-style semi-automatic weapons. "My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities", she said she told him.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern, who is expected to address the media again on Sunday in Wellington, held a series of meetings in Christchurch on Saturday to assure the Muslim community their safety was top priority.

"Fijian hearts are breaking for our brothers and sisters in New Zealand - a place where an atrocity of this nature is shocking nearly beyond comprehension". "We are filled with grief over this senseless act of hate".

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