New Zealand PM’s office received shooter’s ‘manifesto’ minutes before attack

New Zealand shooting 28-year-old Australian man charged with murder

Following Friday's shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed to change the country's gun laws, though she didn't immediately specify how.

The attack, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labelled as terrorism, was the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand and the country raised its security threat level to the highest.

The firearms included two semi-automatic rifles, two shotguns and a lever-action weapon, she said, speaking to reporters in Wellington before heading to Christchurch.

While the final casualty figures had not been confirmed when this edition went to press, New Zealand Police confirmed there were 49 people dead and multiple numbers in hospital with critical injuries.

Tarrant, of New South Wales, obtained a gun license in November 2017 and started buying the weapons he used Friday about a month later, Ardern said.

She said the the country's gun laws will be changed and toughened after the attack. Another two individuals are still in custody as the police continue to determine if they were involved in any way.

Footage of the attack on one of the mosques was broadcast live on Facebook, and a "manifesto" denouncing immigrants as "invaders" was also posted online via links to related social media accounts.

Earlier today Ardern led a cross-party group of politicians, including Deputy Prime Minister and NZ First leader Winston Peters, Opposition leader Simon Bridges, Green Party co-leader James Shaw and senior ministers on a visit to the Canterbury refugee centre.

Security at London mosques was hiked up yesterday after the New Zealand attacker said he was inspired by events in the United Kingdom and wanted Muslim London mayor Sadiq Kahn dead.

"There is one charge of murder brought at the moment, it is reasonable to assume that there will be others", said Judge Paul Kellar.

The suspect documented his radicalisation and two years of preparations in a lengthy, meandering and conspiracy filled far-right "manifesto".

"It's the time for change", Ardern said.

Tarrant did not request bail and was remanded in custody till his next court appearance on April 5.

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".

Ms Ardern, who arrived in Christchurch Saturday, said the shooter was not on any watchlist and did not have a criminal record. His father Mohammed Elayyan, wounded in the attack, co-founded one of the mosques in 1993.

She did not offer too much detail, but said a ban on semi-automatic weapons would be looked at. "There is a dimming of enlightenment in many parts of the world. I saw lots of broken glass and bricks on the backside of the mosque", he said.

At first, Mr Taylor and his colleagues had no idea what was happening, initially believing the alarms, sirens and general panic sweeping through the New Zealand city were signs of another quake, similar to the 6.2-level seismic disaster that destroyed massive swathes of the city in 2011.

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