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New Zealand terror attack suspect appears in court on murder charges

16 March 2019

Christchurch/Wellington: The main suspect in mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques was charged with one count of murder on Saturday, a day after the attack that killed 49 people and wounded dozens, prompting the prime minister to vow reform of the country's gun laws.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush declined to comment on whether it was an act of terrorism but said the situation was unprecedented in New Zealand.

The Muslim Community Center, which operates a mosque on the North Side and schools in Morton Grove and Skokie, said in a statement that it planned to hire extra security patrols and advised its members, "Please be vigilant by keeping your eyes and ears open and being aware of your surroundings".

Law enforcement officials in other cities across the country, including NY and Los Angeles, have also said they are increasing security forces at mosques in response to the shooting.

An Australian man has been charged with murder over the massacre of 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.

Most of the victims were at the Al Noor mosque, as the attacker was reportedly chased out of the Linwood mosque by a "well known Muslim local" who fired two shots in pursuit, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Dozens of people laid flowers at cordons near both mosques in Christchurch, which is still rebuilding after a devastating quake in 2011 that killed nearly 200 people.

A few minutes later, broadcasting his journey on a live Facebook stream and listening to the British Grenadiers marching song, he walked casually into a mosque and raised his rifle to the first person he saw.

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New Zealand police closed the Christchurch court to the public over security concerns, but the media was able to attend.

TRT World's Jacob Brown explains. Registration of individual weapons is not required.

The gunman's manifesto was a welter of often politically contradictory views, touching on numerous most combustible issues of the day, among them the Second Amendment right to own guns, Muslim immigration, terrorist attacks and the wealthiest 1 per cent. He said his brother last visited Jordan two years ago.

None of those apprehended had a criminal history either in New Zealand or in Australia, nor were they on any watchlists in either country, Ms Ardern said.

In tweets and a Facebook post late Thursday evening, Scheer condemned an attack on freedom and "peaceful worshippers" but did not make note of the fact the worshippers were Muslims.

Christchurch was the home of these victims. This, I want to assure people, is to ensure that all our agencies are responding in the most appropriate way, that includes at our borders.

Ibrahim said he managed to escape via the backdoor of the mosque: "Lots of people we were inside and there was a door on the right side for the ladies entrance section".

New Zealand terror attack suspect appears in court on murder charges