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New Zealanders reach out to Muslims in wake of mass shooting

16 March 2019

The man burst into the mosque as worshippers were kneeling for prayers.

"I have asked our agencies this morning to work swiftly on assessing whether there was any activity on social media or otherwise, that should have triggered a response".

Police and military personnel walk at the carpark compound of the district court after Friday's mosque attacks, in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2019.

A raft of top class sporting events were canceled in New Zealand on Saturday as a traumatized nation started burying the dead from the worst peacetime mass killing in its history.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of Counter Terrorism Policing, said on Friday: "Whilst there is no intelligence linking these appalling events in Christchurch to the United Kingdom, additional uniform patrols will continue in London and nationally over the coming days, focusing on places of worship and specific communities".

Police Commissioner Mike Bush also praised the officers who brought the massacre to a halt.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the shooting a terrorist act, saying it was the country's "darkest day". "Anyone who has seen the footage. they put New Zealand first", Ardern said.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) CEO David White said, "This isn't about cricket; it's about something much bigger and much more important than that". A four-year-old child in a critical condition was flown to the children's Starship hospital in Auckland.

Hungry for any news, families and friends of the victims gathered at the city's Hagley College, near the hospital.

Ardern called on the USA government to show "sympathy and love for all Muslim communities", and told the press that "the person who has committed this violent act has no place here". Ardern labeled the carnage a terrorist attack and has vowed to change the country's gun laws as a result.

An Aberdeen man who fled for his life after chaos erupted all around him in the wake of the New Zealand terrorist attack said he fell into a "complete panic" soon after the shooting began. He said he and others escaped by breaking through a glass door.

Facebook said it had deleted the gunman's accounts "shortly after the livestream commenced" after being alerted by police.

Grafton residents who knew Tarrant as a resident have told 9News they remember him as a "relatively normal" person who worked at a local gym.

Ardern's office said the suspect had sent the "manifesto" in a bulk email that included a generic address for the prime minister, the opposition leader, speaker of the parliament and around 70 media outlets a matter of minutes before the attack.

Christchurch is a city of about 400,000 residents, still recovering from a massive natural disaster in 2011 that killed 187 people.

She said that she had already instructed the ODESC (Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination) to report to Cabinet on Monday on Friday's events with a view to strengthening the country's systems on a range of fronts including, but not limited to, firearms, border controls, enhanced information-sharing with Australia, and any practice reinforcement of their watch-list processes. It's a city in crisis mode yet again, just a few years on from the quakes that rattled Christchurch to its core.

Schools, institutions and workplaces went forced into lockdown for three and half hours on Friday afternoon as police hunted the shooters.

New Zealanders reach out to Muslims in wake of mass shooting