Suspect In New Zealand Mosque Attack Appears In Court

The suspect made a sign to the camera during his appearance in the Christchurch District Court on Saturday

The suspect made a sign to the camera during his appearance in the Christchurch District Court on Saturday

Attacks on the two Christchurch mosques left at least 49 dead Friday, with one gunman - identified as an Australian extremist - apparently livestreaming the assault that triggered the lockdown of the New Zealand city.

Police were able to neutralize two devices: an improvised explosive device at one of the mosques and another device found in the suspect's vehicle, which was also rendered safe.

Muath Elayyan, Mohammed's brother, told the Associated Press his brother helped establish the mosque a year after arriving in New Zealand, where he teaches engineering at a university and runs a consultancy.

According to the Independent, the suspects are alleged to have called people attending Friday prayers at a near-by mosque "terrorists'". "He enjoyed freedom there and never complained about anything", Muath said.

'Just 24 hours after the Christchurch shooting New Zealand bans semiautomatic guns!' she wrote in reference to New Zealand Attorney General David Parker's comments about banning the controversial weapons.

A total of four people were arrested in connection with the incident - one of whom was in possession of a firearm but with the intention of assisting police was released a short time later.

Two armed guards brought Brenton Tarrant into court.

Labelling the attack as an act of terrorism, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to reform the country's gun laws.

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Tarrant, who was not granted name suppression, smirked to the camera of the media dock and frequently scanned the court room which was closed to the public. "To see so many innocent lives taken so callously and cruelly in this place of sanctuary is totally unacceptable".

Another of Daoud's sons, Yama, was on the way to the mosque - to make up with his father after a small falling out - when he bumped into a friend outside who told him "your father saved my life". "49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured". He says 36 victims remain hospitalized, with two of them in critical condition.

New Zealand authorities are working quickly to move all the bodies out of the mosques and through the coroner's office so they can be returned to their loved ones. He also published a 74-page white nationalist manifesto in which he denounced Muslims and called immigrants "invaders".

Ardern said Saturday that she had met with relatives of the victims and their "key concern" was to have access to their loved ones' remains for burial. A couple apprehended at a cordon for carrying firearms not believe to be involved in the attacks, Bush said.

None of those arrested had a criminal history or was on any watchlist in New Zealand or Australia.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Pacific Area Presidency also released a statement of support for Muslim communities and all others impacted by the Christchurch shootings. She said the shooter had five guns, two of them semi-automatic.

When asked about whether the same person carried both shootings, Bush said officials were not aware of anything that would contradict that suggestion.

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