CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand

Thousands of people have gathered in the New Zealand city of Christchurch to listen to prayers, songs and speeches at a vigil to remember the 50 people killed in a terrorist attack on two mosques.

One of those watching from a wheelchair was 21-year-old Mustafa Boztas, who was shot in the leg and liver during the March 15 attack at the Al Noor mosque.

Boztas says it was beautiful to see what the community had put together to show they care and that "we are all one."

Officials estimate up to 40,000 people attended the event on a sunny Sunday evening at Hagley Park. It was held on a stage that had been set up for a concert by Canadian singer Bryan Adams that was cancelled after the attacks.

Source: Fox News World

The family of a slain 3-year-old boy and a Jordanian prince are among those visiting a New Zealand mosque as it reopens for the first time since a terrorist killed 42 people there.

Hundreds of people stopped at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch on Saturday to lay flowers or pray after police removed a cordon and those running the mosque decided to reopen even though they haven’t yet had time to replace the carpet.

Inside the mosque, there were few signs of the carnage from eight days earlier. Crews had replaced windows that worshippers smashed in a desperate attempt to escape when the attacker mowed them down during Friday prayers. Bullet holes were plastered over and painted.

The gunman killed a total of 50 people at two mosques.

Source: Fox News World

Vascular surgeon Adib Khanafer says he was in shock March 15 when he walked into the operating theater and saw a 4-year-old girl on the table who had suffered gunshot wounds so severe she’d been in cardiac arrest for 30 minutes before stabilizing.

Khanafer is Muslim and knew some of the 50 people killed in last week’s attacks at two Christchurch mosques. He says he typically fixes veins and arteries on adults in controlled environments.

He operated successfully, although the girl remains in critical condition, and has since been transferred to a children’s hospital in Auckland.

He says the attacks deeply affected his family. He knew a colleague and a patient who were killed, and his wife knew many more people at the Al Noor mosque who died.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the mosque attacks in New Zealand (all times local):

3 p.m.

An Australian national security official says security agencies are increasing their "scrutiny and pressure" on white supremacists after the New Zealand mosque attack.

Home Affairs Department chief executive Mike Pezzullo told a Senate committee on Friday that Australian agencies were working to assist the New Zealand investigation into the Australian man arrested in the killings of 50 worshippers in two Christchurch mosques last week.

Brenton Tarrant espoused white-supremacist views in a manifesto describing his plans for the attack, and racist imagery was seen in his livestreamed footage.

Pezzullo said the Home Affairs Department stood resolutely against white supremacy and he addressed its adherents in saying," The scrutiny and pressure that you are under will only intensify.’"

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1:31 p.m.

People across New Zealand are observing the Muslim call to prayer as the nation reflects on the moment one week ago when 50 people were slaughtered at two mosques.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and thousands of others congregated in leafy Hagley Park opposite the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch to observe the call to prayer early Friday afternoon.

Thousands more were listening in on the radio or watching on television as the event was broadcast live. The prayer was followed by two minutes of silence.

The observance comes the day after the government announced a ban on "military-style" semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity magazines like the weapons that were used in last Friday’s attacks.

Source: Fox News World

People across New Zealand are observing the Muslim call to prayer as the nation reflects on the moment one week ago when 50 people were slaughtered at two mosques.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and thousands of others congregated in leafy Hagley Park opposite the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch to observe the call to prayer early Friday afternoon.

Thousands more were listening in on the radio or watching on television as the event was broadcast live. The prayer was followed by two minutes of silence.

The observance comes the day after the government announced a ban on "military-style" semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity magazines like the weapons that were used in last Friday’s attacks.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the mosque attacks in New Zealand (all times local):

3 p.m.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand is immediately banning assault rifles, high-capacity magazines and "military style semi-automatic rifles" like the weapons used in last Friday’s attacks on two Christchurch mosques.

Ardern announced the ban Thursday and said it would be followed by legislation to be introduced next month.

She said the man arrested in the attacks had purchased his weapons legally and enhanced their capacity by using 30-round magazines "done easily through a simple online purchase."

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11:30 a.m.

An imam says he’s expecting thousands of people at an emotional Friday prayer service a week after an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Six more funerals were being held Thursday for the 50 people killed last Friday.

Iman Gamal Fouda says he’s been discussing plans for the prayer service with city officials and lawmakers and expects it will take place in a park across from Al Noor mosque, where at least 42 were killed.

Fouda expects 3,000 to 4,000 people, including many from abroad. He said members of the Linwood mosque, where the gunman killed seven people, also would attend the joint prayer.

He says mosque workers have been feverishly working to repair the destruction from the attack. They will bury the blood-soaked carpet.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the mosque attacks in New Zealand (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the gunman who killed 50 people at two New Zealand mosques is no different from the militants of the Islamic State group.

In an opinion piece published in The Washington Post on Wednesday, Erdogan also called on Western leaders to learn from "the courage, leadership and sincerity" of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and "embrace Muslims living in their respective countries."

The opinion piece’s headline read: "The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth."

Erdogan said the West "must reject the normalization of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia."

Separately, the Turkish president has been criticized for showing excerpts from video of the mosque attacks and for comments about the Gallipoli campaign in World War I.

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6 p.m.

A father and son who fled the civil war in Syria for "the safest country in the world" have been buried before hundreds of mourners, the first funerals for victims of shootings at two mosques in New Zealand that horrified a nation known for being welcoming and diverse.

The funerals Wednesday of 44-year-old Khalid Mustafa and 15-year-old Hamza Mustafa came five days after a white supremacist methodically gunned down 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch — a massacre that he broadcast live on Facebook.

Hamza’s high school principal described the student as compassionate and hardworking, and said he was an excellent horse rider who aspired to be a veterinarian.

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5:25 p.m.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says he believes police officers stopped the gunman who killed 50 people at two mosques on his way to another attack.

Bush says they believe they know where the gunman was going but won’t say more because it’s an active investigation.

In a 74-page manifesto he released before the attack, accused Australian gunman Brenton Tarrant said he was going to attack mosques in Christchurch and Linwood, and then one in the town of Ashburton if he made it that far.

Bush also revised his timeline, saying officers rammed the suspect off the road and arrested him 21 minutes after the first emergency call rather than 36 minutes.

Bush says FBI agents have traveled to New Zealand to help with the investigation.

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4 p.m.

Australia’s prime minister says he has asked the Turkish president to withdraw his accusation of an anti-Islam motive behind Australia and New Zealand sending troops to Turkey in the World War I Gallipoli campaign.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was denouncing Islamophobia after an Australian was arrested in the killings of 50 worshippers in two mosques in New Zealand.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said "all options are on the table" if Erdogan does not withdraw his comments.

Turkish ambassador Korhan Karakoc said he had a "frank" conversation with Morrison when the envoy was summoned to Parliament House on Wednesday.

Thousands of Australian and New Zealand citizens gather at the Gallipoli peninsula on April 25 each year to commemorate the start of the failed British-led campaign in 1915 to open a new front in the war against Germany.

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3:10 p.m.

A man accused of sharing video of a massacre in New Zealand has been jailed by a judge until his next court appearance in mid-April.

Philip Arps, 44, appeared in a Christchurch court Wednesday on two charges of distributing the killer’s livestream video of last week’s attack on Al Noor mosque, a violation of the country’s objectionable publications law. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

Arps, heavily tattooed and dressed in a T-shirt and sweatpants, hasn’t entered a plea. He remained expressionless during the hearing, his hands clasped behind his back.

Judge Stephen O’Driscoll denied him bail.

Charging documents accuse Arps of distributing the video on Saturday, one day after the massacre.

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1:15 p.m.

The first two people to be buried after last week’s mosque attacks that killed 50 people are a father and his son.

Khalid Mustafa was 44 and Hamza Mustafa was 15. The teen was a student at Cashmere High School and was compassionate and hard-working, according to the principal Mark Wilson.

Hamza was an excellent horse rider who aspired to be a veterinarian, Wilson says.

Hamza’s younger brother Zaed, 13, suffered gunshot wounds to the leg in the attack.

Mourners on Wednesday carried the bodies to a freshly dug gravesite, where hundreds gathered around to watch. Some were invited to scoop handfuls of dirt on top of the bodies.

Authorities spent four days constructing a special grave at a city cemetery that is designated for Muslim burials.

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12:35 p.m.

The first funeral for two of 50 victims of last week’s shootings at two mosques in New Zealand has begun.

Hundreds of people are at the services in Christchurch.

The identity of the victims was not immediately known. Authorities spent four days constructing a special grave at a city cemetery that is designated for the Muslim burials.

An Australian white supremacist killed 50 worshippers in two mosques last Friday.

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11:50 a.m.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will protest to the Turkish ambassador on Wednesday against the Turkish president’s accusation of an anti-Islam motive behind Australia and New Zealand sending troops to Turkey in the World War I Gallipoli campaign.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was denouncing Islamophobia after an Australian white supremacist killed 50 worshippers in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Morrison said the comments were not helpful.

Thousands of Australian and New Zealand citizens gather at the Gallipoli peninsula on April 25 each year to commemorate the start of the failed British-led campaign in 1915 to open a new front in the war against Germany.

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11:30 a.m.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has visited a school where two boys killed in last week’s mosque attacks were students.

In a speech at Cashmere High School, Ardern renewed her call for people to focus on the victims rather than the perpetrator.

She says there will be interest in the terrorist but asked the students not to say his name or dwell on him.

The Cashmere High students killed were 14-year-old Sayyad Milne and 15-year-old Hamza Mustafa. A third Cashmere student, Mustafa’s 13-year-old brother Zaed, is recovering from gunshot wounds to his leg.

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10:45 a.m. Wednesday

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says police have now formally identified and released the bodies of 21 people out of the 50 who were killed in last week’s mosque attacks.

Bush said that releasing the bodies was a priority for family reasons, compassionate reasons and cultural reasons.

Islamic law says that people should be buried as soon as possible after death, preferably within 24 hours.

Bush’s comments came after it was announced that the first two burials of the victims are scheduled to take place Wednesday morning.

He says they hope to finish formally identifying most victims by the end of the day although some will take longer.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the mosque shootings in New Zealand (all times local):

10:10 p.m.

Police in New Zealand say they have completed autopsies on all 50 victims of last week’s mosque shootings, and have formally identified 12 of them. Six of the identified victims have been returned to their families.

Four days after the attack, relatives were anxiously waiting Tuesday for word on when they can bury their loved ones.

Islamic tradition calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 hours. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said authorities hope to release all the bodies by Wednesday, and police have said authorities are working with pathologists and coroners to complete the task as soon as they can.

Police said in a statement that their "absolute priority is to get this right and ensure that no mistakes are made."

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12:30 p.m.

New Zealand’s prime minister is vowing to block any attempt at self-promotion by the white supremacist accused of killing 50 people in mosque shootings, after he dismissed his lawyer and opted to represent himself in court.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged Tuesday that the suspect’s move to represent himself could allow him a platform for his racist views during the trial. Ardern said she was determined to prevent that and would not speak his name.

Brenton Harrison Tarrant dismissed his lawyer on Saturday. He has been charged with one count of murder and a judge said he is likely to face more charges over the shootings.

Elsewhere in New Zealand, police are probing a suspicious blaze that’s destroyed a small gun club.

Fire crews were called to the scene in the North Island town of Kaitaia at about 4 a.m. on Tuesday.

Police say no one was hurt, but it’s being treated as suspicious.

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11:45 a.m.

New Zealand’s international spy agency has confirmed it had not received any relevant information or intelligence ahead of last week’s deadly mass shooting on two mosques.

The Government Communications Security Bureau also said in a statement on Monday night that it welcomed an inquiry that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ordered into intelligence and security services that failed to detect the risk from the attacker or his plans.

There have been concerns intelligence agencies were overly focused on the Muslim community in detecting and preventing security risks.

On Friday, a white supremacist went on a shooting rampage in two mosques in Christchurch, killing 50 people.

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11:20 a.m.

Australia’s prime minister has urged world leaders to crack down on social media companies that broadcast terrorist attacks in the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque shootings.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has written to G-20 chairman Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling for agreement on "clear consequences" for companies whose platforms are used to facilitate and normalize horrific acts.

Australian Brenton Tarrant has been charged with murder over the attack on two mosques in Christchurch that killed 50 people and left another 50 injured.

The attacks were livestreamed on Facebook.

Morrison says: "Social media companies are international businesses and it’s up to the international community to force them to act."

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the mosque shootings in New Zealand (all times local):

2:20 p.m.

The owner of Christchurch’s "Gun City" store said it sold four guns and ammunition to the alleged mosque shooter through a "police-verified online mail order process."

David Tipple said in a statement that he has provided police with the purchase records and full details of the sales, which did not include military style semi-automatic weapons.

Tipple said he and staff are "dismayed and disgusted" by Friday’s shootings.

The store has been criticized for leaving out a roadside advertising billboard that shows a parent helping children with rifle target practice.

Referring to the man arrested after the shootings at two mosques, Tipple said, "We detected nothing extraordinary about this (gun) license holder."

An Australian man has been charged with murder in the attacks at two Christchurch mosques.

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1 p.m.

Families of the 50 people killed in the Christchurch mosque shootings are enduring an increasingly agonizing wait for the bodies of victims to be released as New Zealand reels from the unprecedented tragedy.

Three days after Friday’s attack, New Zealand’s deadliest shooting in modern history, relatives were anxiously waiting for word on when they can bury their loved ones. Islamic tradition calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death.

Aya Al-Umari, whose older brother Hussien Al-Umari died at the Al Noor mosque, said "It’s very unsettling not knowing what’s going on, if you just let me know — is he still in the mosque? Is he in a fridge? Where is he?"

Authorities say they hope to release all the bodies by Wednesday.

Source: Fox News World

The New Zealand leader’s promise of tightened gun laws in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings has been widely welcomed by a stunned population.

Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern said her Cabinet will consider the details of the change on Monday. She has said options include a ban on private ownership of semi-automatic rifles that were used with devastating effect in Christchurch and a government-funded buyback of newly outlawed guns.

Christchurch gun owner Max Roberts predicted Ardern won’t face serious opposition to her in-principle agenda.

Elliot Dawson survived the shooting at Christchurch’s Linwood mosque by hiding in a bathroom. She hopes New Zealand follows Australia’s lead on gun control.

Australia’s virtual ban on private ownership of semi-automatic rifles cut the size of the country’s civilian arsenal by almost a third.

Source: Fox News World


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