New Zealand: Christchurch terror attacks: What you need to know

– DW (15.03.2019) –– Two mass shootings at mosques in the New Zealand city have left 50 dead and stunned the world. DW brings you up to speed on the tragic events as details emerge about the right-wing extremist charged in the attacks.

A 28-year-old man suspected of being behind Friday’s deadly terror attacks against the Muslim community in Christchurch appeared briefly in court on Saturday, where he faced one charge of murder, with the expectation of more similar charges to come.

The shooting attacks at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday killed 50 people and injured at least 47, making it the deadliest attack in New Zealand’s modern history. It sparked horror and dismay around the world and prompted international leaders to denounce the Islamophobic violence.

What happened

  • On Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, a shooter entered the Al Noor Mosque and opened fire with multiple weapons, killing 41 people.
  • Around the same time a shooter or shooters also opened fire at the nearby Linwood Mosque, killing seven others. One other died later in hospital, while a 50 victim was found at the first mosque a day later.
  • Shortly afterward a livestream video of the attack spread around the world through social media, as Facebook and Twitter worked to remove the video from their platforms.
  • Police arrested four individuals in the attacks’ immediate aftermath. One was eventually released, one has been charged with murder, and two remain in custody.
  • Police also said they had found explosive devices at one mosque, which they secured and detonated.
  • They warned people not to go anywhere near mosques in the country.

Suspect details emerge

  • Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old suspect, has been charged with murder.
  • Before the attacks, Tarrant posted a 74-page manifesto on social media. In it, he identified himself as a white supremacist and a fascist and said he wanted to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims.
  • Tarrant had legally purchased the weapons used in the attack, which included two semi-automatic rifles.
  • He had traveled around the world and lived sporadically in Dunedin, a town outside of Christchurch, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference.
  • The Australian government has confirmed the suspect is an Australian citizen.
  • Australian police said the suspect had only been known to them for “minor traffic matters,” and he had not been on the intelligence community’s radar.