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BANGKOK 18 July 2019 16:11
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New Zealand mosque shootings toll rises to 50, families wait to bury their dead

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New Zealand mosque shootings toll rises to 50, families wait to bury their dead

By Tom Westbrook and Praveen Menon

 

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A woman reacts at a flower tribute area at Botanical Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

 

CHRISTCHURCH/WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The death toll in the New Zealand mosque shootings rose to 50 on Sunday after police said they found another body at one of the mosques, as families waited for authorities to formally identify victims and release their bodies for burial.

 

Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday. Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5 where police said he was likely to face further charges.

 

Friday's attack, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labelled as terrorism, was the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand and the country had raised its security threat level to the highest.

 

Footage of the attack on one of the mosques was broadcast live on Facebook, and a "manifesto" denouncing immigrants as "invaders" was also posted online via links to related social media accounts.

 

The bodies of the victims had not yet been released to families because investigations were ongoing, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said at a media conference in Wellington.

 

It is customary in Islam to bury the dead within the 24 hours.

 

"We have to be absolutely clear on cause of death and confirm their identity before that can happen. But we are so aware of the cultural and religious needs, so we are doing that as quickly and sensitively as possible," Bush said.

 

Bush said the body of the 50th victim was found at the Al Noor mosque, where more than 40 people died after a gunman entered and shot at people with a semi-automatic rifle with high-capacity magazines, before travelling to a second mosque.

 

HERO HAILED

 

One man at the second mosque in the suburb of Linwood was being hailed for distracting and confronting the shooter, preventing further deaths.

 

Abdul Aziz, 48, told local media he heard shooting and ran outside the mosque, shouting at the gunman and drawing him away from the building, the Newshub website reported.

 

Aziz, originally from Afghanistan, said he picked up one of the gunman's discarded weapons and threatened the man, who drove off.

 

Police then rammed the gunman's vehicle and arrested him.

 

"Those two police officers acted with absolute courage," Bush said. "They have prevented further deaths and risked their own lives to do so."

 

Church services for victims of the attack were held around the country, including at Christchurch's "Cardboard Cathedral", a temporary structure built after much of the central city was destroyed in a 2011 earthquake.

 

Thirty-six people were still in Christchurch Hospital, with 11 being treated in intensive care, and one child moved to dedicated children's hospital in Auckland.

 

At Hagley College, a school across the park from the Al Noor mosque, a makeshift support centre was set up. A stream of victims' friends and relatives entered, one woman carrying sandwiches and falafel.

 

One local student, who asked not to be identified, said a friend had been killed.

 

“He was studying to be a pilot and we saw him for morning classes. Then he went to the mosque as usual. And we are not hearing from him," he said. "I got a call last night from a friend, around midnight, to say he has passed away.”

 

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

 

Pakistan's High Commissioner said six citizens had been killed and three were missing.

 

GUN REFORM

 

Bush said police did not believe that three other people arrested on Friday were involved in the attack. Two men faced charges unrelated or "tangential" to the attack, while a woman had been released, he said.

 

Tarrant did not have a criminal history and was not on any watchlists in New Zealand or Australia.

 

In a manifesto circulating online, Tarrant described himself as "Just a ordinary White man, 28 years old" who used the spoils of cryptocurrency trading to finance extensive travels through Europe from 2016-2018.

 

Ardern said Tarrant was a licensed gun owner who allegedly used five weapons, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns, which had been modified.

 

"I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change," Ardern told reporters on Saturday, saying a ban on semi-automatic weapons would be considered.

 

New Zealand has in the past tried to tighten firearm laws, but a strong gun lobby and culture of hunting has stymied such efforts.

 

There are an estimated 1.5 million firearms in New Zealand, which has a population of only 5 million, but the country has had low levels of gun violence.

 

Graphic - New Zealand shootings: 2O3v80l

 

Graphic - Major mass shooting graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2QrER0B

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-03-17

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4 minutes ago, robblok said:

The problem is that those extremist on both sides with their actions influence the moderates on both sides to be more hateful against each other. The moderates on both sides just want to be left alone in peace.

How true so let’s not let them win keep our eyes open and stop thease criminals from acting

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, longtom said:


“New Zealand has in the past tried to tighten firearm laws, but a strong gun lobby and culture of hunting has stymied such efforts.

Remind me again why hunters need semi-automatic rifles?”

 

 I grew up in New Zealand and I was taught to shoot a rifle in school from about the age of 14. We used a Second World War .303 rifle with a .22 bore.  A very heavy weapon. My father also kept one at home for us to do more training. 

 

 As a young married man I kept a .22 semi automatic rifle for shooting possums and rabbits,  being semi automatic was quite helpful when shooting rabbits which leap all over the place. 

 

 Of course a semi automatic .22 rifle would not cause the carnage that occurred in this dreadful attack,  and I agree I can see no reason to use a semi automatic heavy caliber weapon to shoot wild pigs and wild deer . I hope the Law does get changed. 

 

 This sickening attack has hurt every New Zealander and I am sure that the authorities  will make every effort to reduce the chance of it happening again 
 

 

Edited by nickcar
Dont know why my post seems to be part of the quote
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2 hours ago, longtom said:


New Zealand has in the past tried to tighten firearm laws, but a strong gun lobby and culture of hunting has stymied such efforts.

Remind me again why hunters need semi-automatic rifles?

Sent from my SM-T535 using Thailand Forum - Thaivisa mobile app
 

Semi automatcs with a 5-7 mag would be safe enough. But this madman used a loophole in the law to buy 30 round mags and i suspect got a bumpstop. I prefer hunting with a semi because i am not as quick with a bolt anymore. 

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8 minutes ago, phantomfiddler said:

A terrible and foolish thing to do but, unless my memory fails me, I do not recall thousands of muslims marching down New York streets denouncing the felling of the Twin Towers, causing a much greater loss of life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactions_to_the_September_11_attacks#Muslim_Americans

 

https://religionnews.com/2018/09/10/seventeen-years-after-9-11-muslims-are-still-presumed-guilty/

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