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New Zealand terrorist who killed 50 'visited' Britain during 'radicalisation tour'

17 March 2019

A suspect in the mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques on Friday appeared in court on Saturday and was charged with murder.

Two armed guards brought Brenton Tarrant into court.

During the Saturday morning hearing, a man who was not in court was charged with using writings to incite hatred against a race or ethnicity, but it was not clear if his case was related to the mosque attacks.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country will change its gun laws following the mass shootings on Friday. Worshippers, possibly dead or wounded, lay on the floor, the video showed.

Of those killed in the massacre, 41 died at the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue in central Christchurch, seven were killed at the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque, and one person died at Christchurch Hospital. No images have emerged from there.

The police initially said that four people had been detained in the wake of the attacks.

A series of vigils have now been scheduled around the country, while flowers were being left at cordons near the attack sites in Christchurch.

Ardern said she had asked authorities to look into whether there was any activity on social media or elsewhere ahead of the attack that should have triggered a response. He is expected to face further charges, police said. The judge said "it was reasonable to assume" more such charges would follow. "Just helping people is his main thing". One victim died in hospital.

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Two other people have been arrested in connection with the terror attack, and they remain in custody as police conduct an ongoing investigation as to their possible involvement.

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.

Wearing a black scarf, Ardern hugged members of the Muslim community at a Christchurch refugee centre, saying she would ensure freedom of religion in New Zealand.

Muslims hold placards after a prayer meet for victims of Friday's mosque attacks in New Zealand, outside a mosque in Jammu March 16, 2019.

"I never thought it would happen in New Zealand".

"I'm not sure how to deal with this".

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

The Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin is reported to have moved to New Zealand five years ago and described it as "the safest place one could ever live in".

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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.

His brother Abdi managed to flee the carnage while his father pretended he was dead after he was shot and managed to escape, The Age said.

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

The video of Ardern's press conference in Wellington was published online by local broadcaster.

Watch: PM Ardern's comments on tightening gun laws. Neighboring Australia has virtually banned semi-automatic rifles from private ownership since a lone gunman killed 35 people with assault rifles in 1996.

"When people, of course, hear 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", Ms Ardern said.

Leaders around the world expressed sorrow and disgust at the attacks, with some deploring the demonisation of Muslims.

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New Zealand terrorist who killed 50 'visited' Britain during 'radicalisation tour'