Forty-nine people have been killed and at least 20 others injured in shootings at two mosques in New Zealand city of Christchurch in the worst attack in the Pacific country’s history.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference that the mosque shootings appear to have been a well-planned “terrorist attack”.
“This is, and will be, one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” an ashen-faced Ardern said.
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian who was a gunman in the New Zealand terror attacks, described himself as an “ordinary white man” who was inspired by Norway mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and wanted to avenge “thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders”.
Tarrant, who filmed himself attacking a Christchurch mosque in a Facebook Live video, posted a 74-page manifesto in which he claims to be from a “working class, low income family”.
He said he was of Scottish, Irish and English stock and moved to New Zealand temporarily to plan and train and then stayed there after deciding to conduct the attack.
“I have read the writings of Dylann Roof and many others, but only really took true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik,” he wrote.
Anders Behring Breivik slaughtered 77 people in Norway’s worst peacetime atrocity in July 2011, in a bomb and gun terror attack in Oslo and on the island of Utoya. He harboured radical right-wing views and had accused the ruling Labour Party of promoting multiculturalism and endangering Norway’s identity.
He said he wanted to avenge the death of Ebba Akerlund, an 11-year-old who was killed in a 2017 terror attack in Stockholm.
Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, confirmed that an Australian-born man participated in the attack but said the man was not previously known to Australian authorities.
“He is an Australian-born citizen,” Mr Morrison said. “That obviously leads to an Australian -based investigation and all of our inquiries here will be absolutely shared and communicated with New Zealand authorities.”
Tarrant is reportedly from Grafton, a town in New South Wales. He worked as a personal trainer at a local fitness centre in 2010 before reportedly travelling overseas.