Four-year-old among those fighting for lives after New Zealand mosque massacre
A 28-year-old man has appeared in court charged with murder after the shootings which left 49 people dead in Christchurch.
A four-year-old girl is among those fighting for their lives after the New Zealand mosque massacre.
At least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques during midday prayers on Friday and dozens more were wounded, some critically.
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Arden has vowed to change the country’s gun laws in the wake of the shooting spree that stunned the world.
Brenton Tarrant, 28, from Australia, appeared in court on Saturday charged with one count of murder and was remanded until April 5. Police said further charges were expected to follow.
He appeared to have live-streamed the terror attack in Christchurch and outlined his anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto posted online.
A search was under way at his residence in Dunedin on Saturday.
The critically wounded four-year-old child was named as Elin by her uncle Sabri Daraghmeh, who told reporters in a phone call from Jordan on Saturday that she remains “in the danger phase”.
Her father Waseem, 33, the brother of Mr Daraghmeh, is said to be in a stable condition.
The Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin is reported to have moved to New Zealand five years ago and described it as “the safest place one could ever live in”.
On Saturday, Christchurch Hospital said 39 people remained in hospital, 11 of them in intensive care.
Four people died en route to hospital.
The majority of the patients are male aged 30 to 40, while two of them are boys aged two and 13, said Greg Robertson, chief of surgery at the hospital.
The two-year-old boy was reported to be in stable condition, as was the 13-year-old.
“Twelve operating theatres worked through the night,” said Mr Robertson.
“Many of those injured will need multiple returns to surgery.”
Of those killed in the massacre, 41 died at the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue in central Christchurch, seven were killed at the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque, and one person died at Christchurch Hospital.
A total of four people were arrested following the massacre – one of whom was in possession of a firearm but with the intention of assisting police, and was released a short time later.
New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush said two of those in custody were arrested at a cordon, and that officers were working to establish whether they had had any involvement in the incident.
Ms Arden said the “primary perpetrator” in the shootings had five guns and held a gun licence, adding: “I can tell you one thing right now – our gun laws will change.”
In the video live-streamed by Tarrant, a man inside a mosque appears to say: “Welcome brother”, as a gunman approaches.
A number of improvised explosive devices found on a vehicle after the shootings were defused by police.
Mr Bush, who had earlier called the attack a “very well-planned event”, said the suspect was not known to police either in New Zealand or Australia.
Police urged all mosques across New Zealand to stay closed over the weekend for security reasons.
British security sources said there were no apparent UK links to the attack.
A 24-year-old man from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was arrested on Saturday after posting comments online supporting the slaughter, Greater Manchester Police said.
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