New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern a pillar of strength

Carla Harmon
March 17, 2019

The number of people injured in the attacks was also 50, of whom 36 remained in hospital.

At least 49 people have died, seven at Linwood Masjid Mosque and 41 at Masjid Al Noor Mosque.

Mr Bush said it appeared all of the victims were linked to the two mosques.

Church services for victims of the attack were held around the country, including at Christchurch's "Cardboard Cathedral", a temporary structure built after much of the central city was destroyed in a 2011 natural disaster. Most others marked on the email were media houses, both domestic and worldwide, said a PM's spokesman.

Before entering two mosques Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand, and opening fire on the unsuspecting worshipers, a man who made public his extreme white supremacist views had posted a 70-page anti-immigrant, Islamophobic "manifesto" on "white genocide", attempting to justify a massacre which is considered the worst in the country's history.

New Zealand police have described efforts to identify the victims as "detailed and complex work" that must be "completed thoroughly".

"As soon as New Zealanders hear that someone was legally able to acquire, as I'm advised, those weapons and carry out this event, that will raise enormous questions with our gun laws, and that is why we will respond swiftly", Ardern said of the situation at her press conference.

"Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with the devastating effect a mass shooting has on a faith community", said Meryl Ainsman, chair of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

"We know that there's been young Somalis that have lost their life, people of Turkish backgrounds that have been injured", he told NPR's Weekend Edition from the airport, on his way to Christchurch.

Gun control expert Philip Alpers suggested that Ardern's quick response to the attack may indicate that New Zealand will address the availability of military-style semi-automatic rifles as promptly as Australia did after a mass shooting in 1996.

Tarrant is expected to face additional charges and two others are in custody. "I am very sorry to miss your calls and text messages.I am really tired.please pray for my son, me and my daughter.I am just posting this video to show you that I am fully ok", said Wasseim Alsati, who was reportedly shot three times.

The majority of victims were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia and Afghanistan.

Ardern said the main suspect was a licensed gun owner who used five weapons during his rampage, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns. "That obviously leads to an Australian-based investigation and all of our inquiries here will be absolutely shared and communicated with New Zealand authorities".

There are an estimated 1.5 million firearms in New Zealand, which has a population of only 5 million, but the country has had low levels of gun violence. Several New Zealand politicians, including National Party leader Simon Bridges and parliament speaker Trevor Mallard, were on the mailing list.

Pence also affirmed US cooperation in ensuring all the perpetrators were brought to justice.

Other reports by iNewsToday