New Zealand digs graves as mosque massacre toll rises to 50

Members of the public mourn at a flower memorial near the Al Noor Masjid on Deans Rd in Christchurch New Zealand 16 March 2019. A gunman killed 49 worshippers at the Al Noor Masjid and Linwood Masjid on 15 March. The 28-year-old Australian suspect Bren

CREDIT MICK TSIKAS EPA-EFE REX Shutterstock

According to spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal, Zeeshan Raza, his father Ghulam Hussain and mother Karam Bibi have been confirmed to have died in Friday's terrorist attacks on two mosques in New Zealand.

Police believe that Tarrant single-handedly carried out the terror attack at both the mosques during the ongoing Friday prayers for which a large number of people had congregated.

New Zealand's Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio said he spoke to one of the Trustees of the Festival last night about the decision, and why it was made.

However he cautioned: "I will not be saying anything conclusive until we are absolutely convinced as to how many people were involved".

The suspected attacker, who identifies himself as 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, reportedly acquired a gun license in November 2017.

"I can confirm that the bodies of those who have died are beginning to be returned to their families from this evening", she said, adding that all were expected to be released by Wednesday, March 20.

When asked what he thought of the prime minister suggesting there should be a change in New Zealand's gun laws, the police commissioner said he was "happy to hear" that.

Police rammed the suspect's vehicle and arrested him as he drove away from the second mosque in the suburb of Linwood. He killed 41 people at Al Noor, before killing seven at another mosque nearby.

His son, Hamza, who is about 16, was missing, and his son Zaid, who is about 13, is in Christchurch Hospital where he underwent a six-hour operation, Akil said.

Rashid moved to New Zealand where Khan said he began teaching and working towards a PhD.

"Terrorist attack" on mosques apparently livestreamed by gunman in Christchurch
There have been reports about another shooting that took place at a local hospital, but they have not been confirmed so far. An area of Christchurch near where the shootings happened is named Peterborough, after Peterborough in Cambridgeshire.


"Just around the entrance door there were elderly people sitting there praying and he just started shooting at them", Mazharuddin told Sky.

Amid the sadness, there have also been tales of heroes such as Alabi Lateef and a fellow worshipper, who followed the 28-year-old Australian gunman to his auto and used a discarded rifle to smash the vehicle's back window. "People see a gun now and they freak out." says Anthony, who also condemned the attack.

The parliamentarians, in their views, have strongly condemned the terror attack on a mosque in New Zealand.

The shootings have raised new questions about violence being disseminated online.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said Brenton Tarrant will "certainly face the justice system of New Zealand for the terrorist attack that he has committed here".

She said the attack had not happened because their country was a safe harbour for hate, or racism or extremism. "Then he went to the mosque as usual and we are not hearing from him", he said.

"Fijian hearts are breaking for our brothers and sisters in New Zealand - a place where an atrocity of this nature is shocking nearly beyond comprehension".

Some of the guns appear to have been modified to make them more deadly, she said, adding that 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.

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