Home / World News / Christchurch mosque taking pictures: New Zealand searching for answers

Christchurch mosque taking pictures: New Zealand searching for answers

● Death toll stands at 49, while 48 are seriously injured — including a two-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy.

● Australian man Brenton Tarrant smiled as he faced court charged with murder after lifestreaming brutal attacks

● Second man, Daniel John Burrough, 18, faces multiple charges

● Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern flags “gun laws will change”

● Australia on high alert — extra police deployed to mosques

● World leaders, including British royals, share their horror

New Zealand is in grief and shock as it comes to terms with a heinous terrorist attack that killed 49 people in Christchurch yesterday.

The 48 people admitted to hospital yesterday varied in ages from “the very young to the elderly”, Greg Robertson, Christchurch Hospital chief of surgery, told reporters.

Four people died in ambulances before reaching hospital. Seven of those treated have now been discharged.

Of those that remain, “some are in a stable condition and some are not”, Dr Robertson said, adding that 11 are in intensive care.

While the majority of patients are males aged 30 to 40, a woman in her mid-20s is “critically ill” and several children were also treated.

media_cameraBrenton Tarrant smiled as he appeared in court today. Picture: Shooter’s Video via AP

A four-year-old girl has been transferred to Auckland Hospital in a critical condition, he said.

Two children remain in Christchurch for treatment to gunshot wounds – a two-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy – and are in a stable condition

Graves are now being dug for the dozens of worshippers who were callously shot dead by an Australian-born, immigrant-hating white supremacist as they gathered for Friday prayers at two of the South Island city’s mosques.

In the Muslim faith, the dead are usually buried on the same day but, because of the death toll is so high, families have been forced to wait until today.

“The reality is that there are 49 bodies to bury over a short space of time,” Dr Zain Ali head of the Islamic Studies research unit at The University of Auckland told Radio NZ.

Dr Robertson said four patients died on their way to Christchurch Hospital yesterday. He said those who remain in hospital require surgery and have serious injuries to the chest, abdomen, pelvis and head — adding many survivors will require long-term follow up care for “a complex series of injuries”.

The world watched on in horror yesterday as the killer, who identified himself on Twitter as “Brenton Tarrant” from Australia, used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live video of the slaughter on Facebook.

The gunman — who is one of three arrested over the attacks — smiled as he appeared in court charged with murder.

He was brought in by prison officers into a heavily secured courtroom under guard by police and court officers and packed with local and international media.

Mr Tarrant kept turning his face towards the media pack, smiling faintly.

media_cameraBrenton Tarrant making a sign to the camera during his appearance for murder in the Christchurch District Court. Picture: Mark Mitchell

This morning a bomb squad with a bomb robot has entered a street in Dunedin — a five-hour drive south of Christchurch — where the killer is believed to have lived.

Tensions are running high in the city, as armed police have attended an “incident” at Forsyth Barr Stadium — police say a gym member said there had been “making a ruckus” and was removed.

media_cameraArmed offenders squad members and police monitor an incident at Forysth Bar. Picture: Dianne Manson/Getty Images
media_cameraTenesions are running high in the city. Picture: Dianne Manson/Getty Images

In Australia, police have revealed that Tarrant’s family approached NSW Police after watching footage of the terror attack.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this morning emphatically declared that gun laws must change.

media_cameraA bomb disposal robot has arrived at Somerville Street in Dunedin where the gunman is understood to have lived. Picture: Dianne Manson/Getty Images

“While the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers,” Ms Ardern said.

She said a fourth person detained yesterday was a member of the public who was in possession of a firearm, but with the intention of assisting police. That individual has since been released.

media_cameraNew Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said gun laws must change in New Zealand. Picture: TVNZ via AP

“None of those apprehended had a criminal history, either here or in Australia and they were not on any watch lists, either here or in Australia,” she said.

“I want to be very clear though, that our intelligence community and police are focused on extremism of every kind. Given global indicators around far-right extremism, our intelligence community has been stepping up their investigations in this area.”


Brothers Omar and Yama Nabi, whose 71-year-old father was shot dead in the Christchurch mosques massacre, have described the alleged shooter as “heartless and cowardly”.

Both brothers were late to Friday prayer but their father Haji Daoud Nabi was on time and was shot at the Al Noor mosque on Dean’s Avenue in the first alleged shooting rampage which killed 41 of the total 49 dead.

Omar Nabi said that his father, who had emigrated from Afghanistan more than 30 years ago had worked hard as an entrepreneur and lived peacefully in Christchurch before the assault.

media_cameraHaji Daoud Nabi, 71, was shot and killed in the attacks.

The brothers were running late doing errands for their respective different businesses in the city.

Standing outside Christchurch District Court where a 28-year-old Australian man is due to appear on a murder charge today, Yama Nabi said he wanted “to see his face”.

media_cameraOmar Nabi says he was late to Friday prayers.
media_cameraYama Nabi’s father was shot and killed in the attacks.

Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates said about 200 family members were at the hospital awaiting news of their loved ones.

Red Cross has started a missing persons list, where the victims’ families can search for loved ones.

Among the missing is 3-year-old Mucad Ibrahim. His brother, Abdi Ibrahim, said no-one had seen Mucad since the shooting.

media_cameraAmong the missing is 3-year-old Mucad Ibrahim

Abdulrahman Hashi, 60, a preacher at Dar Al Hijrah Mosque in Minneapolis, told The Washington Post that his four-year-old nephew was among those killed.

His brother-in-law, Adan Ibrahin Dirie, is also in the hospital with gunshot wounds. He had been worshipping in Christchurch that morning with his five children when the gunman opened fire. Four of his children escaped unharmed, but the youngest, Abdullahi, was killed.

Two taxi-driving brothers and a 25-year-old woman are believed to be among the victims in the Christchurch mosque massacres.

News.com.au has learned that the small boy shot, along with 41 killed in the first mosque attacked on Dean’s Ave, is a four year old Somali-Australian and is believed to be alive and in a critical condition.

A Jordanian man who was shot four times along with his young daughter who was shot three times has posted an emotional video on Twitter to let those who sent messages of support know he is still alive.

“Please pray for me and for my daughters,” he said. “Thank you for all the support. God bless you all.”

Seven people died at the second mosque, and another in hospital bringing the total fatalities to 49.

As New Zealand authorities coped to process the tragedy, some victims were still not officially identified and had been listed as missing.

News.com.au has a list of the names of eight people, who include two brothers who both worked as taxi drivers in Christchurch city, and a woman aged 25.

More victims of the Christchurch massacre have started to be named, as loved ones continue to search for the missing and strangers open their hearts and their wallets to help.

Indian man Ahmed Jehangir is fighting for his life in hospital, a family friend said, and has pleaded for support so his brother, Iqbal Jehangir can fly to New Zealand to be with him.

Kamel Darwish is missing after attending Friday prayers at the Deans Ave mosque, his brother Zuahair Darwish said.

After going to the scene he was directed by police to Christchurch Hospital, but he could not find Kamel there so returned to the mosque on Friday night.

Hesham, who did not want his last name published, told the Sydney Morning Herald that his best friend’s four-year-old brother was in Christchurch Hospital in a critical condition.

“They’re saying he’s not going to make it,” Hesham said.

Hesham spoke of two other victims he knew, a man and woman in their 50s, who were killed.

“They both were active within the community, always trying to better the community, getting things done,” he told the newspaper.

“These two people were very involved within the management of the mosque and very active in the community teaching kids.”

media_cameraAdeeb Sami was visiting New Zealand to surprise his twin children for their birthday

Adeeb Sami was visiting New Zealand to surprise his twin children for their birthday. Instead, the 52-year-old ended up in surgery having a bullet removed from his spine after diving in front of his two sons to protect them from the gunman.

“My dad is a real hero. He got shot in the back near his spine in an attempt to shield my brothers but he didn’t let anything happen to them,” Adeeb’s daughter, Heba, 30, told Gulf News.

Heba told the Dubai-based news outlet that she lost five family friends, including a 12-year-old boy, in the attack.


Authorities across Australia are deploying extra police officers to mosques and at major events in the wake of the Christchurch attacks, with the threat level raised to ‘probable’.

Australian National Imams Council spokesman Bilal Rauf said he believed a similar attack to the Christchurch massacre “absolutely” could happen in Australia.

“This was a co-ordinated act of terror targeted at Muslims and it could easily happen again,” he said. “I am concerned it can be repeated in Australia.”

Senior police, led by counter terrorism chief Mick Willing, met on Friday to assess the threat on Australian soil and how best to assist their counterparts in New Zealand.

According to the National Terrorism Threat Advisory System, that means authorities have received “credible intelligence … that indicates that individuals or groups continue to possess the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia”.

media_cameraAustralian authorities are on high alert after the events in Christchurch. Picture: Getty Images

NSW Police issued a statement assuring Australia’s Muslim community that there were no specific threats domestically.

“However, police have increased patrols and senior officers have also reached out to community and religious leaders across the state to provide support and reassurance,” a spokesman said.

“NSW Police Force will continue to do everything possible to ensure the safety and security of all members of the community and everyone should continue to go about their business without fear.”

Victoria is also on high alert as Melbourne hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix, where extra police have been deployed to the international event.

A statewide mosque open day is also scheduled to go ahead with a heavy police presence.

“Can I reiterate that the safety of the Victorian community is of the highest concern for Victoria Police and we will be doing everything we can to reassure the community and to be visible to assist them not only to being safe but feeling safe,” Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Wendy Steendam said.

media_cameraNew South Wales Police have assured the public that there is no suggestion of a threat here, but are boosting resources as a precaution. Picture: Monique Harmer

Queensland police confirmed they had activated their counter terrorism abilities, with the state’s Police Commissioner Ian Stewart warning Queenslanders to be alert to their surroundings.

Commissioner Stewart said police had promised multi-faith and multicultural communities in Queensland that they would do everything possible to ensure their safety.

“It’s very important that people know they can go about their daily business, go about their prayers, go about their religious services without any fear,” he said.

“We also know that at times like these there is heightened concern in certain communities for backlash, for comment, for perhaps even assaults to occur.”

Meanwhile, Australian police and emergency workers are expected to be deployed to Christchurch in the coming days to assist their counterparts.


Ms Adern has confirmed that neither Tarrant nor his two associates, who are also in custody, were on watch lists in either New Zealand or Australia.

But the prime minister denied the attack was the result of individuals having “slipped under the radar”.

Despite that, global security expert Joe Siracusa said authorities in both countries now have tough questions to answer.

“Every time the terrorists are successful, beginning from 9/11 to the current day, it means there’s an intelligence failure,” Mr Siracusa told A Current Affair.

media_cameraAuthorities will in coming days examine how the events were able to unfold.

Professor Siracusa said he found it “unbelievable” that Tarrant had managed to avoid security agency radars until it was too late.

“(Tarrant) seemed to telegraph everything,” he said, referring to the gunman’s horror act of lifestreaming the shootings. “This is a catastrophic failure of intelligence. And if Australia had a hand in it, they have to explain it too.”

Professor Richard Jackson from the University of Otago said white nationalism is a threat the world has been ignoring.

“I think the lesson from this is something that all Western governments need to take. We know they haven’t been taking this lesson, seriously enough until recently.” he told ABC News.

“The threat from right-wing and white nationalist groups is extremely high. We know from looking at the budgets and looking at the powers that have been given to security agencies, and looking at the resources that they put into different areas, they have focused almost entirely, and exclusively, on the threat from Muslim extremists and now we’re seeing that in actual fact, they ought to be directing a great deal of resources to looking at the threat of nationalist groups.”

However, US President Donald Trump played down any threat posed by racist white nationalism globally.

When asked whether he thought it was a rising threat around the world, he said: “I don’t, really”.

“I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess,” MrTrump said.


Leaders around the world have expressed disgust and sorrow at the mass killing, while some also expressed anger at what they described as the demonisation of Muslims that fuelled such attacks.

Western leaders US President Donald Trump, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were among the many to express solidarity with the New Zealand people on Friday, deploring what the White House called a “vicious act of hate”.


Here in Australia, NSW counter-terrorism police are investigating after the revelation that he is from Grafton.

In a vile 73-page manifesto posted online before, he described himself as “just a regular White man” who wants to “directly reduce immigration rates to European lands”.

The 28-year-old noted he was born “to a working class, low-income family … who decided to take a stand to ensure a future for my people”.

media_cameraThere is still a heavy police presence in Christchurch. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Baker

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the man is an Australian-born citizen. He called him “an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist”.

Sky News heard that the town of Grafton is in shock, trying to come to terms with how a “polite, well-mannered young man” came to find himself on a path that led to Christchurch.

He was a student at the local high school and went on to work at a gym, where his former boss said he regularly volunteered his time to train kids for free.

In April 2010, his father died suddenly of cancer aged 49, leading Tarrant to set off on a seven-year trip around the world.

It was at some time during this journey that former friends now speculate he was “perhaps radicalised”.

media_cameraMs Arden said New Zealand is experiencing a “form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before”. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Baker

Posting on an 8chan forum, a user who identified himself as Tarrant announced he would carry out the attack.

“I will carry out and attack against the invaders, and will even live stream the attack via facebook,” he wrote, with a link to his Facebook page. “If I don’t survive the attack, goodbye, god bless and I will see you all in Valhalla!”

Many anonymous users responded praising him for the attack, with comments like “Godspeed” and “that video is so goddamn good”.

In the days leading up to the attack, Tarrant posted photos to his now-suspended Twitter account of what appears to be guns, ammunition and a military-style vest.

The weaponry is scrawled with references to ancient battles and more recent attacks against Muslims.

media_cameraTarrant posted photos to his now-suspended Twitter account of what appears to be guns, ammunition and a military-style vest.
media_cameraThe weaponry is scrawled with references to ancient battles and more recent attacks against Muslims.


Ms Arden said this morning that five guns were used by the shooter — including two semi automatic weapons and two shotguns.

The New Zealand police have not yet identified the exact makes and models of the various guns used by the assailant.

However, Ms Arden said it is time for the laws to change.

“The offender was in possession of a gun licence. I’m advised that this was acquired in November of 2017. A lever-action firearm was also found,” she said.

“While work has been done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now, our gun laws will change.”

Ms Ardern said the gunman obtained a “Category A” gun licence in November 2017 and began buying the five weapons used in Friday’s attacks the following month.

“The mere fact … that this individual had acquired a gun licence and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I’m committing to that,” she said.

media_cameraTarrant announced on internet forum 8chan that he would carry out the attack. Picture: 8chan
media_cameraPeople in the 8chan forum praised the gunman’s post.

New Zealand tightened its gun laws to restrict access to semiautomatic rifles in 1992, two years after a mentally disturbed man shot dead 13 people in the South Island town of Aramoana.

Anyone over 16 can apply for a standard firearms licence after doing a safety course, which allows them to purchase and use a shotgun unsupervised.

Some of the guns used in Friday’s attack appeared to be similar to the semiautomatic rifles used in a number of US mass shootings and equipped with large-capacity magazines.

Such weapons were used in the mass shooting at a movie theatre in Colorado which left 12 people dead in 2012 and the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that same year which left 26 people dead including 20 children.

New Zealand police remain on high alert. Christchurch residents are strongly urged to stay home.

“Police have additional patrols out on the streets of Christchurch to reassure the community,” said Ms Arden. “They have flown in 45 additional police staff to Christchurch with a further 80 staff arriving today. The additional police staffing includes public safety teams, detectives, tactical specialists and intelligence support.”

— with wires

Originally published as Children among the dead and missing

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