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Mosque massacre hero Naeem Rashid has died after trying to wrestle gun from Christchurch shooter



PICTURED: Mosque massacre hero who tried to wrestle gun from shooter as he killed worshippers is confirmed dead as it is revealed his son also died in monstrous attack

  • Hero Naeem Rashid died in hospital after he tried to overpower Christchurch shooter on Friday afternoon 
  • Mr Rashid launched himself at the shooter in a bid to protect fellow worshippers before he was badly injured
  • In a tragic twist, his 21-year-old son Talha was also killed during the terrifying mass shooting at Christchurch 
  • An Australian right-wing terrorist live-streamed himself carrying out his attack at a mosque in New Zealand 
  • Man, identifying himself as Brenton Tarrant, 28, killed 41 at the Al Noor Mosque, in Christchurch at 1.30pm
  • Seven more people then died when a second mosque in nearby Linwood, also came under attack
  • Another person later died after being taken to hospital, bringing the death toll to 49 dead with 48 wounded 
  • Four people - who were not known to counter-terror authorities - were taken into custody for questioning
  • Police said a 28-year-old man, who they did not name, will appear in court tomorrow charged with murder 
  • Do you know more? Email tips@dailymail.com 

By Aidan Wondracz and Alex Chapman and Ben Hill For Daily Mail Australia

Published: 12:38 EDT, 15 March 2019 | Updated: 20:22 EDT, 15 March 2019

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Hero Naeem Rashid has died after he tried to wrestle the gun from the Christchurch shooter, as it's revealed his son was also a victim of the terrifying attack. 

Mr Rashid tried to overpower the shooter - identified as 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant - during a mass shooting at Al Noor and Linwood Masjid mosques at Christchurch on Friday afternoon.

The hero vigilante was left badly wounded after he launched himself at the shooter in a bid to protect fellow worshippers.

He was quickly rushed to hospital following the attack, but died late Friday night.

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The mosque massacre hero Naeem Rashid has died after he tried to wrestle the gun from the Christchuch shooter during the Friday afternoon attack, as it's revealed his son was also a victim of the terrifying shooting
The mosque massacre hero Naeem Rashid has died after he tried to wrestle the gun from the Christchuch shooter during the Friday afternoon attack, as it's revealed his son was also a victim of the terrifying shooting

The mosque massacre hero Naeem Rashid has died after he tried to wrestle the gun from the Christchuch shooter during the Friday afternoon attack, as it's revealed his son was also a victim of the terrifying shooting

Mr Rashid tried to overpower the shooter - identified as 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant - during a mass shooting at Al Noor mosque at Christchurch, which was live-streamed - a second attack also happened at Linwood Masjid mosque
Mr Rashid tried to overpower the shooter - identified as 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant - during a mass shooting at Al Noor mosque at Christchurch, which was live-streamed - a second attack also happened at Linwood Masjid mosque

Mr Rashid tried to overpower the shooter - identified as 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant - during a mass shooting at Al Noor mosque at Christchurch, which was live-streamed - a second attack also happened at Linwood Masjid mosque

Mr Rashid was left badly wounded after he launched himself at the shooter in a bid to protect fellow worshippers (pictured, Brenton Tarrant)
Mr Rashid was left badly wounded after he launched himself at the shooter in a bid to protect fellow worshippers (pictured, Brenton Tarrant)

Mr Rashid was left badly wounded after he launched himself at the shooter in a bid to protect fellow worshippers (pictured, Brenton Tarrant)

Mr Rashid was quickly rushed to hospital following the Friday afternoon attack, but died later that night (pictured, mourners lay flowers following the terrifying mass shooting)
Mr Rashid was quickly rushed to hospital following the Friday afternoon attack, but died later that night (pictured, mourners lay flowers following the terrifying mass shooting)

Mr Rashid was quickly rushed to hospital following the Friday afternoon attack, but died later that night (pictured, mourners lay flowers following the terrifying mass shooting)

Mr Rashid hailed from Abbottabad, a city in Pakistan where he worked with a private bank before he moved to Christchurch to work as a teacher.

In a tragic twist, Mr Rashid's 21-year-old son, Talha, also lost his life during the mass shooting.  

Dr Khursheed Alam confirmed to ARY News that his brother Mr Rashid and nephew Talha had been killed in the terrifying attack.

Pakistan's High Commission in Wellington earlier confirmed that four Pakistani men were wounded in the attack and five others missing. 

A horrified survivor of the New Zealand terror attack also told how a man tackled the gunman and stole one of his weapons before running away.

Syed Mazharuddin was praying on Friday at the Linwood Masjid mosque in Christchurch, which was the second mosque to be attacked, when he heard gunshots right in front of him.

He said he saw the shooter wearing protective gear and firing wildly before a young man attempted to tackle the gunman. 'He saw an opportunity and pounced and took his gun,' Mr Mazharuddin told The NZ Herald.

The young hero took the gun out of the shooter's hands and attempted to defend people in the mosque but couldn't figure out how to use the weapon, he said.

'The hero tried to chase and he couldn't find the trigger in the gun... he ran behind him but there were people waiting for him in the car and he fled,' Mr Mazharuddin added.  

Mr Mazharuddin said he tried to take cover when he noticed the gunman come in through the main entrance door where 60 to 70 people were praying. He said the gunman then opened fire on elderly people who were praying inside the mosque and he witnessed one of his friends die in the brazen attack after they were shot in the chest and head. 

Police arrested four people over the attacks and said a 28-year-old man would appear in court on Saturday charged with murder, but did not name the suspect. 

Two people remain in custody while the fourth person was released after they were found to be a member of the public carrying a firearm with the intention of assisting police.

Syed Mazharuddin (pictured) was praying on Friday at the Linwood Masjid mosque in Christchurch when he heard gunshots right in front of him, then saw a man jump up and seize the attacker's gun
Syed Mazharuddin (pictured) was praying on Friday at the Linwood Masjid mosque in Christchurch when he heard gunshots right in front of him, then saw a man jump up and seize the attacker's gun

Syed Mazharuddin (pictured) was praying on Friday at the Linwood Masjid mosque in Christchurch when he heard gunshots right in front of him, then saw a man jump up and seize the attacker's gun

Tarrant (pictured as a child in his late father's arms) used the video and manifesto to outline his racist views before carrying out the massacre, which was the worst mass-shooting in New Zealand's history
Tarrant (pictured as a child in his late father's arms) used the video and manifesto to outline his racist views before carrying out the massacre, which was the worst mass-shooting in New Zealand's history

Tarrant (pictured as a child in his late father's arms) used the video and manifesto to outline his racist views before carrying out the massacre, which was the worst mass-shooting in New Zealand's history

Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed on Twitter that the death toll stands at 49, with 42 injured. 

The gunman stormed the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country's South Island during Friday prayers about 1.30pm, opening fire with a semi-automatic shotgun and a rifle on about 100 defenceless worshippers.

The attack was broadcast in horrifying, live video - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern later confirmed in a press conference five firearms were used in the attack. It followed the publication of a 73-page manifesto in which Tarrant laid out his racist, anti-immigrant views. 

'It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,' Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, noting that many of the victims could be migrants or refugees.

She pronounced it 'one of New Zealand's darkest days.'

The attack shocked people across the nation of 5 million people, a country that has relatively loose gun laws but is so peaceful even police officers rarely carry firearms.

Police arrested and charged one man aged 'in his late 20s' with murder. He is expected to face court Saturday. Pictured is an image of Tarrant that was posted to Facebook by a Pakistani hotel-owner, which appears to show Tarrant in the country
Police arrested and charged one man aged 'in his late 20s' with murder. He is expected to face court Saturday. Pictured is an image of Tarrant that was posted to Facebook by a Pakistani hotel-owner, which appears to show Tarrant in the country

Police arrested and charged one man aged 'in his late 20s' with murder. He is expected to face court Saturday. Pictured is an image of Tarrant that was posted to Facebook by a Pakistani hotel-owner, which appears to show Tarrant in the country

Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country's South Island. Pictured is a still from a live-stream of the shooting
Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country's South Island. Pictured is a still from a live-stream of the shooting

Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country's South Island. Pictured is a still from a live-stream of the shooting

A man wearing military fatigues (pictured) was arrested outside Papanui High School
A man wearing military fatigues (pictured) was arrested outside Papanui High School

A man wearing military fatigues (pictured) was arrested outside Papanui High School

At least one gunman has opened fire at a mosque in New Zealand , shooting at children and killing dozens of people
At least one gunman has opened fire at a mosque in New Zealand , shooting at children and killing dozens of people

At least one gunman has opened fire at a mosque in New Zealand , shooting at children and killing dozens of people

Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country's South Island
Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country's South Island

Witnesses reported hearing 50 shots and police are responding to the incident at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on the country's South Island

Timeline of terror: How the Christchurch shootings unfolded

Friday March 15, 1.30pm local time (12.30am GMT): Gunman identifying himself as Brenton Tarrant live-streams mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque as Friday prayers are underway. The Bangladesh cricket team were on their way to the mosque at the time.

Another shooting takes place at a mosque in Linwood, 3.5 miles to the east. 

1.40pm: Police respond to reports of shots fired in central Christchurch. People are urged to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour. Shortly afterwards, all schools in the city are placed into lockdown.

2.10pm: Police confirm they are attending an 'evolving situation' involving an 'active shooter'

3.30pm: Two explosive devices attached to a car are found and disarmed by a bomb squad at Strickland Street, not far from the Al Noor Mosque.

4pm: One person confirmed to be in custody. New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says there have been 'multiple fatalities' at two locations - both mosques. Mosques across New Zealand urged to shut their doors.

4.10pm: Prime minister Jacinda Ardern calls it 'one of New Zealand's darkest days'.

5.30pm: Mr Bush says three men and one woman are in custody. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison confirms one of those arrested is Australian.

7.30pm: Ms Ardern says 40 are dead and more than 20 are seriously injured but confirms the offender is in custody 

National security threat level is lifted from low to high.

7.45pm: Britomart train station in central Auckland is evacuated after bags are found unattended. The bags were deemed not suspicious.

9pm: Death toll rises to 49 and Police Commissioner Bush reveals a man in his late 20s has been charged with murder. 

Police are not looking for any named or identified suspects, he says, but adds that it would be 'wrong to assume that there is no-one else'.

11.50pm: Investigation extends 240 miles to the south where homes are evacuated around a 'location of interest' in Dunedin.   

The gunman behind at least one of the mosque shooting sidentified himself as Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian and white nationalist who was out to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims.

Using what may have been a helmet camera, he livestreamed to the world in graphic detail his assault on worshippers at Christchurch's Al Noor Mosque, where at least 41 people were killed. An attack on a second mosque in the city not long after killed several more.

Police did not identify those taken into custody and gave no details except to say that none of them had been on any watch list. They did not immediately say whether the same person was responsible for both shootings.

At least 48 people, some in critical condition, were being treated at Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds, authorities said.

While there was no reason to believe there were any more suspects, the prime minister said the national threat level was raised from low to high. 

Police warned Muslims against going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand. And Air New Zealand canceled several flights in and out of Christchurch, saying it couldn't properly screen customers and baggage.

Police said the investigation extended 360 kilometers (240 miles) to the south, where homes in Dunedin were evacuated around a 'location of interest.' They gave no details.

Ardern alluded to anti-immigrant sentiment as the possible motive, saying that immigrants and refugees 'have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us.'

As for the suspects, the prime minister said, 'these are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand.'

Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the Al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running out in terror. 

One of the gunmen live-streamed the mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque, which happened at 1.30pm as Friday prayers were underway
One of the gunmen live-streamed the mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque, which happened at 1.30pm as Friday prayers were underway

One of the gunmen live-streamed the mass shooting inside the Al Noor Mosque, which happened at 1.30pm as Friday prayers were underway

The self-proclaimed racist believed to have killed 49 people at a New Zealand mosque during Friday prayers apparently opened fire with rifles covered in white-supremacist graffiti and listened to a song glorifying a Bosnian Serb war criminal
The self-proclaimed racist believed to have killed 49 people at a New Zealand mosque during Friday prayers apparently opened fire with rifles covered in white-supremacist graffiti and listened to a song glorifying a Bosnian Serb war criminal
The self-proclaimed racist believed to have killed 49 people at a New Zealand mosque during Friday prayers apparently opened fire with rifles covered in white-supremacist graffiti and listened to a song glorifying a Bosnian Serb war criminal
The self-proclaimed racist believed to have killed 49 people at a New Zealand mosque during Friday prayers apparently opened fire with rifles covered in white-supremacist graffiti and listened to a song glorifying a Bosnian Serb war criminal

The self-proclaimed racist believed to have killed 49 people at a New Zealand mosque during Friday prayers apparently opened fire with rifles covered in white-supremacist graffiti and listened to a song glorifying a Bosnian Serb war criminal

Survivors gather near the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Road hours after the place of worship was attacked
Survivors gather near the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Road hours after the place of worship was attacked

Survivors gather near the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Road hours after the place of worship was attacked

Peneha, who lives next door, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in his driveway and fled. He said he then went into the mosque to try to help the victims.

'I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque,' he said. 'I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It's ridiculous.'

He added: 'I've lived next door to this mosque for about five years and the people are great, they're very friendly. I just don't understand it.'

He said the gunman was wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top, giving him a military-type appearance.

In the video that was apparently livestreamed, the gunman spends more than two minutes inside the mosque spraying terrified worshippers with bullets again and again, sometimes firing at people he has already cut down.

He then walks outside, where he shoots at people on the sidewalk. Children's screams can be heard in the distance as he returns to his car to get another rifle. The gunman then walks back into the mosque, where there are at least two dozen people lying on the ground.

Police escort distraught witnesses away from a mosque in central Christchurch following twin massacres
Police escort distraught witnesses away from a mosque in central Christchurch following twin massacres

Police escort distraught witnesses away from a mosque in central Christchurch following twin massacres

Armed police push back members of the public trying to reach the mosque to check on fellow worshippers
Armed police push back members of the public trying to reach the mosque to check on fellow worshippers

Armed police push back members of the public trying to reach the mosque to check on fellow worshippers

Armed police maintain a presence outside the Masijd Ayesha Mosque in Manurewa in Auckland after the attack in Christchurch
Armed police maintain a presence outside the Masijd Ayesha Mosque in Manurewa in Auckland after the attack in Christchurch

Armed police maintain a presence outside the Masijd Ayesha Mosque in Manurewa in Auckland after the attack in Christchurch

After going back outside and shooting a woman there, he gets back in his car, where the song 'Fire' by the English rock band The Crazy World of Arthur Brown can be heard blasting. The singer bellows, 'I am the god of hellfire!' and the gunman drives away.

The second attack took place at the Linwood mosque about 5 kilometers (3 miles) away.

Mark Nichols told the New Zealand Herald that he heard about five gunshots and that a prayer-goer returned fire with a rifle or shotgun. Nichols said he saw two wounded people being carried out on stretchers past his automotive shop.

The man who claimed responsibility for the Al Noor shooting said he was not a member of any organization, acted alone and chose New Zealand to show that even the most remote parts of the world were not free of 'mass immigration.'

New Zealand is generally considered a welcoming country for migrants and refugees.

Last year, the prime minister announced the country would boost its annual refugee quota from 1,000 to 1,500 starting in 2020. Ardern, whose party campaigned on a promise to take in more refugees, called the increase 'the right thing to do.'

Christchurch is home to nearly 400,000 people and is sometimes called the Garden City. It has been rebuilding since an earthquake in 2011 killed 185 people and destroyed many downtown buildings.

Before Friday's attack, New Zealand's deadliest shooting in modern history took place in the small town of Aramoana in 1990, when a gunman killed 13 people following a dispute with a neighbor.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the shootings were an 'unprecedented act of violence'
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the shootings were an 'unprecedented act of violence'

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the shootings were an 'unprecedented act of violence'

Worshippers in Bangledesh march through the streets of Dhaka to condemn the Christchurch mosque attacks
Worshippers in Bangledesh march through the streets of Dhaka to condemn the Christchurch mosque attacks

Worshippers in Bangledesh march through the streets of Dhaka to condemn the Christchurch mosque attacks 

In his manifesto, the gunman highlighted New Zealand's remoteness as a reason he chose it as a target of his attacks. 

He wrote that an attack in New Zealand would show that no place on earth was safe and that even a country as far away as New Zealand is subject to mass immigration.

He said he grew up in a working-class Australian family, had a typical childhood and was a poor student. A woman who said she was a colleague of his when he worked as a personal trainer in the Australian city of Grafton said she was shocked by the allegations against him.

'I can't ... believe that somebody I've probably had daily dealings with and had shared conversations and interacted with would be able of something to this extreme,' Tracey Gray told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Beyond his white nationalistic ideals, he also considers himself an environmentalist and a fascist who believes China is the nation that most aligns with his political and social values. He has contempt for the wealthiest 1 percent. And he singled out American conservative commentator Candace Owens as the person who had influenced him the most. 

THE UPBRINGING OF A SHOOTER:

Brenton Tarrant, 28, grew up in Grafton, a small town in northern New South Wales.

Tarrant's father, who was a competitive athlete and completed 75 triathlons, died of cancer in 2010 aged just 49. His mother still lives in the area.

Tarrant attended a local high school and then worked as a personal trainer at the local Big River Squash and Fitness Centre from 2010.

A woman who knew Tarrant through the gym said he had always followed a strict dietary and exercise regime.

'He was very dedicated to his own training and to training others,' she said. 'He threw himself into his own personal training and then qualified as a trainer and trained others. He was very good.'

'When I say he was dedicated, he was dedicated more than most people would be.

'He was in the gym for long periods of time, lifting heaving weights. He pretty much transformed his body.'

The woman said she had not spoken to him or heard him talk about his political or religious beliefs.

'From the conversations we had about life he didn't strike me as someone who had any interest in that or extremist views,' she said.

'But I know he's been travelling since he left Grafton. He has been travelling overseas, anywhere and everywhere.

'I would say it's something in the nature of his travels, something he's been around.

'I know he's been to lots of different countries trying to experience lots of different things in life and I would say something's happened in that time in his travels.'

Shooters rampage began when he got into his car wearing military-style body armour and a helmet saying 'let's get this party started'
Shooters rampage began when he got into his car wearing military-style body armour and a helmet saying 'let's get this party started'

Shooters rampage began when he got into his car wearing military-style body armour and a helmet saying 'let's get this party started'

After retrieving one of at least six assault rifles stored in his car, he walked up to the front door and began firing at the first person he saw
After retrieving one of at least six assault rifles stored in his car, he walked up to the front door and began firing at the first person he saw

After retrieving one of at least six assault rifles stored in his car, he walked up to the front door and began firing at the first person he saw

In a tweet, Owens responded by saying that if the media portrayed her as the inspiration for the attack, it had better hire lawyers.

Throughout the manifesto, the theme he returns to most often is conflict between people of European descent and Muslims, often framing it in terms of the Crusades.

He wrote that the episode that pushed him toward violence took place in 2017 while he was touring through Western Europe. That was when an Uzbek man drove a truck into a crowd of people in Stockholm, killing five. The Australian was particularly enraged by the death of an 11-year-old Swedish girl in the attack.

He said his desire for violence grew when he arrived in France, where he became enraged by the sight of immigrants in the cities and towns he visited.

And so he began to plot his attack. Three months ago, he started planning to target Christchurch. He claimed not to be a direct member of any organization or group, though he said he has donated to many nationalist groups. He also claimed he contacted an anti-immigration group called the reborn Knights Templar and got the blessing of Anders Breivik for the attack.

Breivik is a right-wing Norwegian extremist who killed 77 people in Oslo and a nearby island in 2011. Breivik's lawyer Oeystein Storrvik told Norway's VG newspaper that his client, who is in prison, has 'very limited contacts with the surrounding world, so it seems very unlikely that he has had contact' with the New Zealand gunman. 

AOS (Armed Offenders Squad) push back members of the public following a shooting at the Al Noor mosque
AOS (Armed Offenders Squad) push back members of the public following a shooting at the Al Noor mosque

AOS (Armed Offenders Squad) push back members of the public following a shooting at the Al Noor mosque

Members of a family react outside the mosque following the shooting in Christchurch
Members of a family react outside the mosque following the shooting in Christchurch

Members of a family react outside the mosque following the shooting in Christchurch

Pictured: Grieving members of the public after the shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand
Pictured: Grieving members of the public after the shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand

Pictured: Grieving members of the public after the shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand

The gunman had a long wish list for what he hoped the attack would achieve. He hoped it would reduce immigration by intimidating immigrants. He hoped to drive a wedge between NATO and the Turkish people. 

He hoped to further polarize and destabilize the West. And he hoped to create more conflict over gun laws in the U.S., thus leading to a civil war that would ultimately result in a separation of races.

Though he claimed not to be a Nazi, in the video he livestreamed of the shooting the number 14 is seen on his rifle. That may be a reference to the '14 Words,' a white supremacist slogan attributed in part to Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf,' according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

He also used the symbol of the Schwarze Sonne, or black sun, which 'has become synonymous with myriad far-right groups who traffic in neo-Nazi,' according to the center.

His victims, he wrote, were chosen because he saw them as invaders who would replace the white race. He predicted he would feel no remorse for their deaths. And in the video he livestreamed of his shooting, no remorse can be seen or heard. Instead, he simply says: 'Let's get this party started.'

Then he picks up his gun, storms into the mosque, and cuts down one innocent life after another.

When it is over, he climbs back into his car, where he has left his music playing — the song 'Fire' by the English rock band The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. And right after the singer bellows, 'I am the god of hellfire!' the gunman drives away.

A floral tribute to the victims of the Christchurch massacres is seen on the same avenue as the second mosque
A floral tribute to the victims of the Christchurch massacres is seen on the same avenue as the second mosque

A floral tribute to the victims of the Christchurch massacres is seen on the same avenue as the second mosque

A terrorist who opened fire on a New Zealand mosque published an online manifesto detailing his plans to carry out a massacre hours before the attack
A terrorist who opened fire on a New Zealand mosque published an online manifesto detailing his plans to carry out a massacre hours before the attack

The 73-page document, which he called 'The Great Replacement', was published on the morning before Brenton Tarrant opened fire inside the Al Noor Mostque in Christchurch

THE SHOOTER'S MANIFESTO

In a manifesto seemingly written by Tarrant and shared to Twitter, he mentions being inspired by other shooters including Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in Oslo, Norway in 2011.

He said he 'disliked' Muslims and hated those who had converted to the religion, calling them 'blood traitors'.

Tarrant said he originally wanted to target a mosque in Dunedin, south of Christchurch, after watching a video on Facebook, but changed his mind. 

He said he had been planning an attack for up to two years and decided on Christchurch three months ago. 

The shooter said he was motivated to carry out the attack by the death of Swedish schoolgirl Ebba Akerlund, a girl who was killed in a terrorist attack in Stockholm in April 2017.

Tarrant said he was a supporter of Donald Trump as a 'symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose'. 

A man reacts as he speaks on a mobile phone near a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand
A man reacts as he speaks on a mobile phone near a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand

A man reacts as he speaks on a mobile phone near a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand

Police rushed to an Auckland train station after reports of abandoned backpacks. The bomb disposal robot (pictured) detonated a bomb in a 'controlled explosion' while commuters were cordoned off
Police rushed to an Auckland train station after reports of abandoned backpacks. The bomb disposal robot (pictured) detonated a bomb in a 'controlled explosion' while commuters were cordoned off

Police rushed to an Auckland train station after reports of abandoned backpacks. The bomb disposal robot (pictured) detonated a bomb in a 'controlled explosion' while commuters were cordoned off

Police escort people away from outside one of the mosques targeting in the shooting
Police escort people away from outside one of the mosques targeting in the shooting

Police escort people away from outside one of the mosques targeting in the shooting

A police officer photographs witnesses near the scene of one of the shootings
A police officer photographs witnesses near the scene of one of the shootings

A police officer photographs witnesses near the scene of one of the shootings

Witnesses inside the mosque reported seeing 15 people being shot, including children
Witnesses inside the mosque reported seeing 15 people being shot, including children

Witnesses inside the mosque reported seeing 15 people being shot, including children

A man who escaped the mosque during the shooting said he saw his wife lying dead on the footpath
A man who escaped the mosque during the shooting said he saw his wife lying dead on the footpath

A man who escaped the mosque during the shooting said he saw his wife lying dead on the footpath

He described himself as 'just a regular white man'.

He said he was born to 'working class, low-income family... who decided to take a stand to ensure a future for my people'.

'My parents are of Scottish, Irish and English stock. I had a regular childhood, without any great issues,' he wrote. 

The gunman said he carried out the massacre to 'directly reduce immigration rates to European lands'. 

He said New Zealand was not his 'original choice' for the attack but said the location would show 'that nowhere in the world was safe'.  

He shared photos to his now-removed Twitter account ahead of the attacks, showing weapons and military-style equipment. 

Tarrant also cited conservative activist Candace Owens as his biggest influence, saying she helped 'push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness' - but claimed some of the 'extreme actions' she calls for are 'too much, even for my tastes'.

Witness Ahmad Al-Mahmoud described one of the shooters as being white, with blond hair and wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest
Witness Ahmad Al-Mahmoud described one of the shooters as being white, with blond hair and wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest

Witness Ahmad Al-Mahmoud described one of the shooters as being white, with blond hair and wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest

The mosque has capacity to hold more than 300 people
The mosque has capacity to hold more than 300 people

The mosque has capacity to hold more than 300 people

A world united in grief: Leaders around the globe express their horror at New Zealand mosque shootings 

Leaders from around the would have condemned the deadly attack at two New Zealand mosques that left 49 people dead. 

United States President Donald Trump took to Twitter to express his condolences and pledge that the US would do 'anything we can' to help New Zealand. 

President Trump tweeted his 'warmest sympathy and best wishes' to the people of New Zealand after 'the horrible massacre in the Mosques'. He added that 'innocent people have so senselessly died. 'The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!'   

In the UK, the Queen said she was 'deeply saddened' by the attack while Prince Charles said he and his wife were 'utterly horrified' to hear about the 'barbaric' attacks. 

In a message to the Governor-General of New Zealand, the Queen said: 'I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives.

'I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured.

'At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders.'

 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also shared their horror at the news. 

Pope Francis denounced the 'senseless acts of violence' in the shootings and said that he is praying for the Muslim community and all New Zealanders. 

Erna Solberg, the prime minister of Norway which saw 77 people killed in a far-right attack eight years ago, has expressed solidarity with New Zealand

Ms Ardern condemned the attacker, saying: 'You may have chosen us, but we utterly condemn and reject you.'

'My thoughts, and I'm sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders, are with those who have been affected, and also with their families.'

Early reports indicated a shooting at Christchurch Hospital. However, Ms Ardern said the mosques were the lone targets on 'one of New Zealand's darkest days'.

Dozens of families spent the night crowding the front doors of Christchurch Hospital, unsure whether their loved ones had survived. One woman took to social media to ask whether anyone had seen her husband.

'Assalamualaikum [peace be with you] currently we still don't have any news on my husband. Please keep him on your prayer.' 

The nation's terror threat level was elevated to 'high alert' following the terror attacks, the second highest possible.

However, police have confirmed there are no further suspects.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed the death toll had risen to 49 as of 9pm local time.

'This is absolutely tragic. So many people are affected. We don't know the identities of those who have died yet because those places are in lockdown,' he said in a statement at about 6pm.

Speaking of the victims, Commissioner Bush said: 'Our love and thoughts go out to them and all of their family, all of their friends and all of their loved ones.'

He also praised local police officers who responded to the attacks.

'We have staff around the country making sure everyone is safe, including armed offenders at all mosques. Police staff have gone above and beyond to protect people today.'

Armed police were seen patrolling the Masijd Ayesha Mosque in Auckland after the attack in Christchurch.

Bush earlier urged Muslims in New Zealand not to go to mosques on Friday.

Commissioner Bush said four people were taken in to custody with one later released. He also confirmed there were bombs attached to a car near the scene of the shootings, which were disarmed before they could detonate.

Ms Ardern condemned the attacks, saying they were 'an unprecedented act of violence, an act that has no place in New Zealand.

'This is not who we are. The people who were the subject of this attack to

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