New Zealand Mosque Shootings Put Focus on Country's Firearms

Tory leader Scheer issues new statement on attacks including mention of Muslims

There were bodies all over, witnesses recall

An Aberdeen man who fled for his life after chaos erupted all around him in the wake of the New Zealand terrorist attack said he fell into a "complete panic" soon after the shooting began.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Saturday the country's national gun laws will change after at least 49 worshippers were shot dead in the two mosques in Christchurch. "The people of New Zealand are in our thoughts and prayers".

Muath said his brother helped establish the mosque a year after arriving in New Zealand, where he teaches engineering at a university and runs a consultancy.

An attack at another mosque killed seven more, and one victim died at a hospital, leaving the country reeling in the aftermath of its deadliest mass shooting in recent history.

Scheer posted to Twitter and Facebook late Thursday evening in Canada as news of the attacks was reported, saying "freedom has come under attack" and mentioning "peaceful worshippers" and a "despicable act of evil". The killer mockingly told the victims to "subscribe to PewDiePie" and now, the famous YouTuber is addressing the news about it. He received a phone call Friday morning from his brother-in-law Adan Ibrahin Dirie, who was in the hospital with gunshot wounds.

"I'm a bit lost", he said. "He was the youngest in the family".

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Local Muslims attend Friday prayers at the Windsor Mosque. "Some people think the Muslims in their country are part of that, but these are innocent people". "The horrific active shooter scenario at a mosque is something we all pray never happens (but) there is no active intelligence that there is any immediate threat in the U.S. But we can not be complacent". Then the gunman opens fire.

A total of 49 people were killed and at least 48 were wounded in two shootings at a pair of mosques in Christchurch.

"An expert testified before parliament in 2016 that it was only a matter of time, before a mass shooting occurred in NZ", he said.

"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. Keats told the BBC she was driving when she saw two men running down the street. "He is traumatized, but we are all alive".

"So far", three Bangladeshis are among those killed and four or five others are among the wounded, including two left in critical condition, Bangladesh's honorary consul in Auckland, Shafiqur Rahman Bhuiyan, told The Associated Press.

An imam who was leading prayers at a Christchurch mosque when a gunman brandishing semi-automatic weapons mowed down his congregation said on Saturday (March 16) that the Muslim community's love for New Zealand would not be shaken by the massacre.

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"We are in the midst of a surge of right-wing terrorism that has been metastasising in plain sight while generating only a muted response from domestic counter-terrorism authorities", he said. "This is probably the last thing on our mind living in New Zealand that this will ever happen".

Sahra Ahmed, a New Zealander of Somali origin, said she was touched by the PM's gesture.

The family had fled the civil war in Syria in search of "a safe haven, only to be killed here", he said.

The man facing murder charges was an Australian citizen who had spent a lot of time travelling overseas and spent time only sporadically in New Zealand, Ardern said.

The manifesto also included a single reference to US President Donald Trump in which the author asked and answered the question of whether he was a Trump supporter: "As a symbol of renewed white identity and common goal?"

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