The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, had told a press conference that the gun laws will be changing following the Christchurch attack.
Ardern explains that the ‘mere fact’ that the attacker was allowed to get a gun licence and to own these types of weapons, will motivate people to see a reform of existing gun laws. She explains that she is determined to make that happen.
When asked, Ardern confirmed that the suspect was indeed the owner of a valid Category A gun licence (awarded in 2017), and in the legal possession of five guns, which included semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.
She adds that the suspect had not been known to police in regard to involvement in far right groups or violence.
Of the three other suspects, Ardern explains that investigations are still ongoing to understand the connection with the two others, while the third had been ascertained to be a citizen carrying a weapon with intent to aid police. They had been released.
The deathtoll from the attack has been currently confirmed at 49 with the young child age re-confirmed as 5 not 4 years old.
49 dead, 42 injured, 4 year old in critical condition
49 people have been confirmed killed and a further 42 are in hospital after being attacked by a gunman at the Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch. One of those is a 4 year old in critical condition.
The gunman is a 28 year old Australian man who in his 74 page manifesto explained that he had been planning the attack in the past three months.
It is understood that he was motivated by White Supremacist belief that Muslims were taking over. The gunman will now be appearing in the Christchurch District Court on Saturday morning charged with murder.
Few victims have been formally named by the authorities, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have said that they have nationals among the dead and injured.
New Zealand police say that they found weapons at an address in Dunedin which were linked to the attacks.
Mosques have been told to remain closed until the situation is resolved, while a large number of events including the third Test match cricket between Bangladesh and New Zealand has also been cancelled.
A crowd-funding campaign has been organised for victim support and has already raised around NZ $850,000 – €516708.
Not taking any chances, the UK and US police are currently patrolling around Muslim communities and Mosques
Vigils are also being held.
There’s something quite comforting about hundreds of kiwis coming together in London to try and come to terms with what has happened back home. pic.twitter.com/kXrNQRQ2yx
— Lloyd Burr (@LloydBurr) March 15, 2019
A beautiful waiata echoing around Hyde Park Corner in London, led by UK High Commissioner Sir Jerry Mateparae. This vigil is very special. pic.twitter.com/cGvDpSzDgo
— Lloyd Burr (@LloydBurr) March 15, 2019
Casualties and injured revised
The Police Commissioner Mike Bush, has confirmed that 49 people have died, 42 are injured, 2 are critical, one being a four year old. In the tweet thread, he explains that 41 were killed in the Deans Avenue mosque, 7 at the Linwood Avenue Mosque.
A message from Commissioner Mike Bush:
We are continuing to make enquiries after yesterday's tragic events in Christchurch.
As the Prime Minister stated yesterday, this has been designated a terrorist attack.
49 people have died and 42 are being treated for injuries.
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019
It is has been uncovered that the music that the attacker was listening on his way to the mosques was a Serb Nationalist song which was dedicated to Radovan Karadžić, the wartime leader of the Bosnian Serb forces.
Karadžić is expected to have his verdict on his genocide conviction appealed next week.
Remembering Srebrenica has confirmed that the song is a nationalist anthem which romantically remembers the actions of Karadžić and the 1995 massacre which killed 8000 Muslims.
‘Wolves are on the move from Krajina [a Balkan region] Karadžić lead your Serbs, let them see they fear no one’, the lyrics read.
More details on the writing on the guns
Some of the names and numbers on the guns have been deciphered.
On one of the rifles used is the name of a 11 year old girl who is understood to have been killed during an April 2017 attack in Stockholm where a truck drove into crowds, the young girl among them. A 39 year old Uzbek Rakhmat Akilov, was the driver.
Her name is also mentioned in the 47 page manifesto and apparently the spark which led to his decision to take action against Muslim invaders.
Apparently the number 14 refers to the ’14 words’ which comes from the white supremacist mantra derived from Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ – ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children’
Black Sun Symbol
The Black sun or Schwartze Sonne is a symbol which is apparently synonymous with far right movements.
The year and location refers to the battle of Kahlenberg where the Ottoman Empire was beaten back in its siege of the city of Vienna.
The year and location refer to the major counterattack by the King Guy of Jerusalem which led to significant losses for Saladin, leader of the Muslim forces in Syria and Egypt.
There are also four names of well known Serbs who are understood to have fought against the Ottomans in the Balkans during the Ottoman’s 500 year rule. These are written in Cyrillic.
There is a further reference to Charles Martel, a person who is understood to have defeated Muslim forces in at the battle of Tours in 734. This a symbol also well known in the white supremacist movements.
Attacker outlined motivations in manifesto; disliked ‘invading’ Muslims
The full manifesto, entitled ‘The Great Replacement’ which has been attributed to Brenton Tarrant, has appeared on the Stormfront website, a forum for White Supremacists.
In the document it provides the motivations behind the attacker’s decision to carry out the attacks on the two mosques. In a series of question and answers, the perpetrator explains that the attack had been planned over the course of two years, and specifically three months on the Christchurch area. They explain that they were carrying it out without affiliation with a known group. The person writing does explain that they have supported and donated to nationalist groups and it appears that they had approached the reborn Knights Templar ‘for a blessing in support of the attack, which was given.’
The writer also explains more about the extent of people who are part of ethno-nationalist organisations,
‘The total number of people in these organizations is in the millions, the total number of groups in the thousands. People from every walk of life, in every place of employment and field but disproportionately employed in military services and law enforcement. Unsurprisingly ethno-nationalists and nationalists seek employment in areas that serve their nations and community. I would estimate the number of soldiers in European armed forces that also belong to nationalist groups to number in the hundreds of thousands, with just as many employed in law enforcement positions.’
The writer also explains that they were not carrying out the attack for ‘fame’, recognising that he ‘will be forgotten quickly… But the aftershock from my actions will ripple for years to come, driving political and social discourse, creating the atmosphere or fear and change that is required.’
When referring to the victims of his attack, he explains that they are, ‘obvious,visible and large group of invaders, from a culture with higher fertility rates, higher social trust and strong, robust traditions that seek to occupy my peoples lands and ethnically replace my own people.’
Interestingly, the writer presents his motivation that he does not hate Muslims, but that by the perceived action of invading ‘our lands live on our soil and replace our people? Yes, I dislike them’
His hate, the writer explains, is towards those who convert from Christianity to Islam, ‘those from our own people that turn their backs on their heritage, turn their backs on their cultures, turn their back on their traditions and became blood traitors to their own race. These I hate.’
Referring to the use of firearms for the attack, the perpetrator explains that it was because they had the will and the resources to do so, but also because of the impact using them would have.
‘I chose firearms for the affect it would have on social discourse, the extra media coverage they would provide and the affect it could have on the politics of United states and thereby the political situation of the world.
The US is torn into many factions by its second amendment, along state, social, cultural and, most importantly, racial lines.
With enough pressure the left wing within the United states will seek to abolish the second amendment, and the right wing within the US will see this as an attack on their very freedom and liberty.
This attempted abolishment of rights by the left will result in a dramatic polarization of the people in the United States and eventually a fracturing of the US along cultural and racial lines.’
New Zealand not the original target
Interestingly, when discussing the chosen target, the perpetrator explains that New Zealand had ‘not the original choice for attack’ but that they had come to New Zealand with the intention to ‘plan’ and ‘train’. However, they explain that they discovered the country was enough of a ‘target rich of an environment as anywhere else in the West’.
In their second reason for choosing New Zealand, they explain that it, ‘would bring to attention the truth of the assault on our civilization, that no where in the world was safe, the invaders were in all of our lands, even in the remotest areas of the world and that there was no where left to go that was safe and free from mass immigration.’
Then, when outlining his motivations for choosing the specific mosques, they explain that Dunedin mosque ‘was the main target’. However, they explain that they visited the mosques in Christchurch and Linwood and witnessing what they called ‘desecration of the church that had been converted to a mosque in Ashburton, my plans changed.’
‘The Christchurch and Linwood mosques had far more invaders, in a more prominent and optically foreign building, with less students,more adults and a prior history of extremism.
Attacking these mosques also allowed for an extra planned attack on the mosque in Ashburton, whilst I am unsure as of this time of writing whether I will reach that target, it was a bonus objective.’
Update: Australian Senator criticised for linking violence to Muslim immigration
Australian Senator Fraser Anning has come under fire for making comments connecting the New Zealand shooting to Muslim immigration.
In his first tweet responding to the incident, Anning asks readers ‘Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?’
Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?
— Senator Fraser Anning (@fraser_anning) March 15, 2019
I wonder if there will be as much outrage from the left wing when the next Muslim terrorist attack occurs?
Most likely silence and talk about “lone wolf attacks, mental illness and no connection to Islam”.
— Senator Fraser Anning (@fraser_anning) March 15, 2019
Will any left wingers condemn this? pic.twitter.com/PQo439pUyX
— Senator Fraser Anning (@fraser_anning) March 15, 2019
An Australian journalist has also shared the following statement from Anning, ‘As always, leftwing politicians and the media will rush to claim that the causes of today’s shootings lie with gun laws or those who hold nationalist views, but this is all cliched nonsense … The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.’
People responding to the tweets have called for Mr Anning to resign.
— amjad (@amjad09603059) March 15, 2019
You need to apologise then resign.
— Lisa (@lfptn) March 15, 2019
The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has responded to Anning’s comments saying they are ‘disgusting’
‘Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian parliament.’, he adds.
A former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has also weighed in saying that Anning’s comments are ‘contemptible’
‘He is a disgrace to the Senate and what is worse, by spreading hatred and turning Australians against each other, he is doing exactly what the terrorists want.’, Turnbull adds.
“Great Siege” reference in New Zealand’s massacre
The racist terrorist who massacred at least 49 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand had the words “Malta 1565” written along the barrel of his shotgun.
It is understood that the attacker was also in possession of five further weapons including sniper rifles and assault rifles, all scribbled with incendiary comments including ‘Kebab Remover and Migration Compact’.
In addition to the reference to Great Siege, there has also been identification of the ‘Vienna 1683’. The year is known for the Battle of Vienna between the Christian and Ottoman Empire.
A further reference on the shotgun refers to the year 1571, the Battle of Lepanto. This was a naval battle between the Holy League led by the Venetian Republic and Spanish Empire, against the Ottoman Empire. The battle saw the defeat of the Ottoman forces in the Gulf of Patras.
Remarking on the significance of the years and locations written on the guns, an historian speaking to Newsbook.com.mt said ‘The key idea behind the inscription related to the Great Siege of 1565, is one endemic to white supremacists. The three guns which were used by the attacker were minutely inscribed with dates of landmark victories over Muslims: from Charles Martel and the battle of Tours to the Seige of Vienna and that of Malta and on to latter-day struggles such as those happening in Bosnia in the 1990s and the Norwegian Breivik massacre. This was a white supremacist attack and people close to these activists reported to international media that the attack was well followed and even applauded in this international underground.’
48 people including young children, have been rushed to Christchurch hospital following the attack at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques during Friday prayers. People are being treated for injuries ranging from minor to severe. The majority of the injuries are gunshot wounds.
People bleeding to death
An eyewitness tells the New Zealand Herald that he heard shooting and saw people ‘bleeding to death’. Noor Tavis was worshipping in the front row of the Al Noor Mosque when the attack took place.
He describes panic and screaming all around him, with people running before witnessing people being gunned down. After smashing a window and scaling a 1.5m wall, Tavis and others managed to make it to safety.
Tavi’s friend whom he was standing next to in the mosque, lost his wife.
Two men have been taken into custody and are under investigation. A third is currently charged with murder. The man in his late 20s is expected to appear in court on Saturday. A fourth person has also been detained but New Zealand’s police commissioner Mike Bush, said they were unsure of their involvement at this stage. Bush explained that the attackers were not known to police but stated that the shootings were highly coordinated.
A terrorist attack
The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has referred to the event as a terrorist attack and ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days’. Ardern called the shooting the worst in the country’s history.
The PM also said, ‘Many of those impacted by the shootings may be migrants, and they have chosen to make New Zealand their home. They are us. The person who perpetuated this violence is not,’
Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister has confirmed that one of those detained is an Australian, referring to them as ‘extremist rightwing violent terrorist’.
Christchurch city is now in lockdown, the Mayor has confirmed.
A 28 year old Australian man called Brenton Tarrant, has identified himself as the suspect. Tarrant is understood to have shared a number of pictures of the weapons with their racial scribbles along with a link to his manifesto which motivated his actions.
The manifesto incites creating ‘an atmosphere of fear’ and carrying out violence towards Muslims. The document also makes reference to previous attackers and their actions, including the Finsbury Park attacker Darren Osborne and Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in Norway.
Bangladesh Cricket Team
The attack took place close to where the Bangladesh Cricket team were preparing to play their final Test match of the New Zealand Tour. It is understood that they took shelter in their dressing rooms at the Hagley Oval. The team were later rescued and taken to the hotel.
The social media giant, Facebook, has said that it has deleted the video of the Facebook livestream, taken of the attacks on the two mosques, as well as the account itself.
It is understood that the video shows the individual loading a shotgun and assault rifle into a vehicle, driving to their destination, preparing themselves and entering the mosques to begin killing those inside.
Responding to the news, Facebook’s director of policy in Australia and New Zealand Mia Garlick, told the Insider, ‘Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the community affected by this horrendous act’.
‘New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced, and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video … We’re also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware. We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues.’, the email comments from Garlick read.