NZ prepares for burials of Christchurch attack victims - GulfToday

NZ prepares for burials of Christchurch attack victims

NZZ

A poster hangs at a memorial site for victims of Friday's shooting, in front of Christchurch Botanic Gardens in Christchurch.

"We are one. They are us, Al salam Alaikum," meaning "Peace be upon you".

NZ

Able Rate Abdul Iskandar, who said he was supposed to be at Masjid Al Noor mosque on Friday, the day the shooting, is comforted by bystanders.

GUN LAW DEBATE RAGES

The gunman used a semi-automatic AR-15 during the mosque shootings, police said. A New Zealand gun shop owner said the store had sold Tarrant four weapons and ammunition online between December 2017 and March 2018, but not the high-powered weapon used in the massacre.

Ardern has said she supports a ban on semi-automatic weapons and that cabinet has made in-principle decisions to change gun laws which she will announce next Monday.

But a debate is raging in the country on gun laws. While some New Zealanders have voluntarily surrendered guns, others have been buying more from gun stores to beat the ban.

A gun club in the northern town of Kaitaia burned down early on Tuesday and police were treating the blaze as suspicious.

Simon Bridges, leader of the opposition National Party, said he wanted to get details of the changes to see if there could be bipartisan support in parliament. The Nationals draw support from rural areas, where gun ownership is high.

"We know that change is required. I'm willing to look at anything that is going to enhance our safety - that's our position

Ardern has said that Tarrant emailed a "manifesto” to more than 30 recipients including her office, nine minutes before the attack but it gave no location or specific details. In the document, which was also posted online, Tarrant described himself as "Just a ordinary White man, 28 years old”.

Andrew Little, the minister who oversees New Zealand's intelligence agencies, said monitoring of online activity had been stepped up in the wake of the Christchurch attacks.

"There are people who have been online making statements who have been interviewed by the police; that will continue. There is a level of intervention, there is a heightened level of monitoring," Little said on TVNZ on Monday night.

Ardern said there would be an inquiry into what government agencies "knew, or could or should have known" about the alleged gunman and whether the attack could be prevented.

More than 250 New Zealand police staff are working on the inquiry in the attacks, with staff from the U.S. FBI and Australia's Federal Police working with local investigators.

AFP

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