New Zealand terrorist supports Trump ‘as a symbol of renewed white identity’

Witnesses said victims were shot at close range

New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush said two of those in custody were arrested at a cordon, and that officers were working to establish whether they had had any involvement in the incident.

The office of New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday that it received a copy of a 74-page "manifesto" from the 28-year-old gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant, less than 10 minutes before the assault began at the mosques on Friday. One man has been charged with murder.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reacts during a briefing in Wellington, capital of New Zealand, on March 16, 2019.

"He had a big gun.He came and started shooting everyone in the mosque, everywhere", said the man, Ahmad Al-Mahmoud.

He appeared in court a day after the shootings at the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Masjid mosques.

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. No images have emerged from there.

Tarrant is expected to face additional charges and two others are in custody.

A second survivor, Faisal Sayed, said: "If that hadn't happened, many more would have died and I wouldn't be here now".

The visiting Bangladesh cricket team was arriving for prayers at one of the mosques when the shooting started but all members were safe, a team coach told Reuters.

None of those arrested by the police had been on any watchlists of the authorities either in New Zealand or in Australia, Ardern argued. Christchurch Hospital on Saturday said most of the victims were men aged between 30 and 60, but children and women were also involved. "Just helping people is his main thing". Two victims died later while hospitalized. Christchurch Hospital continued to care for 36 wounded in the shootings, including 11 critically injured. "There are obviously questions being asked of how this person was able to enter the country and undertake this act of terror", the premier said.

A gunman opened fire on worshippers in two mosques in Christchurch, killing 49 people.

Ardern noted that this individual traveled around the world and spent "sporadic periods of time" in New Zealand.

"Those decisions have yet to be taken, but the Prime Minister has signaled that we are going to look at that issue", Parker told Radio New Zealand.

More news: Saudi man killed in New Zealand mosque attack

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.

The majority of victims were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia and Afghanistan.

New Zealand's attorney general, David Parker, took it step farther and vowed to ban semi-automatic guns at a vigil on Saturday, but later backtracked as reported by The New York Times.

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

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.

None of the bodies of the victims were immediately released due to the investigation, leaving families unable to bury their dead within the 24 hours customary in Islam.

Brenton Tarrant used two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm in the attack.

Jacinda Ardern reiterated to the public on Saturday morning that the country's gun law will be changed.

Watch: PM Ardern's comments on tightening gun laws.

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic version of the United States military M16 rifle.

Aziz said: "He gets into his auto and I just got the gun and threw it on his window like an arrow and blasted his window".

Australia imposed stricter rules on gun control and bought back firearms after a mass shooting left 35 people dead and 23 injured at a cafe in Port Arthur, Tasmania, in 1996.

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