New Zealand mosque terror attacks

By Steve George, Joshua Berlinger, Hilary Whiteman, Harmeet Kaur, Ben Westcott and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 3:38 p.m. ET, March 19, 2019
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1:26 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019

New Zealand PM will meet first responders and families in Christchurch on Wednesday

Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will return to the city of Christchurch on Wednesday to meet with first responders and victims' families.

"I will be meeting again with first responders, including St John’s ambulance and front-line support staff. I plan on meeting with family members, but I’m also very mindful that families are receiving their loved ones for burial and I certainly intend, and I ask others also, to be respectful of course at this hugely sensitive time," she said in a Monday statement.
12:42 p.m. ET, March 18, 2019

New Zealand says it will reform gun laws. Here's where policies stand now.

Earlier today, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the government has agreed to reform the country's gun laws in the wake of Friday's mosque terror attacks.

Here's what you need to know about New Zealand's gun laws:

  • More relaxed laws: New Zealand's weapons legislation is considered more relaxed than most Western countries outside of the US.
  • No registration required: Gun owners do need a license, but they aren't required to register their guns — unlike in neighboring Australia.
  • One gun for every 3 people: While authorities do not know exactly how many legally or illegally owned firearms are currently in circulation in New Zealand, estimates put the number at about 1.2 million, according to New Zealand Police. This figure equates to about one gun for every three people — a rate that is considered high when compared with Australia, which has 3.15 million guns, approximately one for every eight people.”

10:28 a.m. ET, March 18, 2019

US Homeland Security chief: "Attacks on peaceful people in their places of worship are abhorrent"

From CNN's Geneva Sands

 JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
 JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said her department has offered its full support to New Zealand in the wake of the terror attacks.

"We, too, have seen the face of such evil with attacks in places such as Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, and Charleston. And in the wake of the New Zealand tragedy, I want to make one thing very clear: We will not permit such hate in the homeland,” she said.

Nielsen called the mosque shootings a "horrible assault" against Muslim worshipers

 "Attacks on peaceful people in their places of worship are abhorrent,” Nielsen said speaking at the State of Homeland Security address.


9:31 a.m. ET, March 18, 2019

Shooting suspect visited Israel in 2016

From CNN's Amir Tal

A spokesperson for Israel’s Population & Immigration Authority, Sabine Haddad, told CNN that an Australian citizen by the name of Brenton Tarrant, who was born in 1990, entered Israel as a tourist on Oct. 25, 2016.

He received a three-month visa on arrival, and he stayed in Israel for nine days. 

8:41 a.m. ET, March 18, 2019

New Zealand will reform gun laws after mosque terror attack

From CNN's Susannah Cullinane, Madeline Holcombe and Jack Guy


New Zealand's government has agreed to reform the country's gun laws in the wake of last Friday's massacre at two mosques, in which 50 people were killed, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed.

Ardern said that the "worst act of terrorism on our shores" had exposed a range of weaknesses in New Zealand's gun laws.

Speaking after her weekly cabinet meeting Monday evening local time, Ardern told reporters that ministers had agreed "in principle" to reform gun laws.

"Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer," she said.

8:03 a.m. ET, March 18, 2019

New Zealand deputy PM discusses video with Turkish politicians

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says he discussed the use of the video from Friday’s attack with Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

When asked by reporters if it was acceptable for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to show parts of the video, Peters said this:

“I made it very clear to Vice-President Oktay and Çavuşoğlu who is their Foreign Minister just last night that anything of that nature that misrepresents this country – given that this was a non-New Zealand citizen – imperils the future and safety of the New Zealand people and our people abroad and it's totally unfair. In short we made it very clear that we oppose terrorism in whatever shape and form it might be and that we are for a free and open society. We had a long dialogue on the need for any other country, or Turkey for that matter, to ensure that our country, New Zealand, was not misrepresented. We did not start or bring about this disaster and they clearly understood that.”
3:31 a.m. ET, March 18, 2019

Australian police raid homes of accused shooter's mother and sister

Two homes raided on Monday morning by Australia's Joint Counter Terrorism Force belong to the accused Christchurch shooter's family members, CNN affiliate Australia's Seven News said.

Police executed search warrants at the homes of 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant's mother and his sister, in northeastern New South Wales.

The raids were part of the ongoing investigation into the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, which killed 50 people.

Tarrant has been charged with murder over the shootings.

3:16 a.m. ET, March 18, 2019

Accused gunman will defend himself in court

From CNN's Jo Shelley

A 28-year-old man Australian man accused of the murder of 50 people in Christchurch on Friday doesn’t want a lawyer, according to the attorney temporarily assigned to him on the day of his arrest.

Duty lawyer Richard Peters told CNN that Brenton Tarrant had twice made it clear that he did not want legal representation. 

Peters, assigned by Christchurch District Court to assist Tarrant in preliminary court appearances, said that the defendant hopes to represent himself.

Tarrant is due to appear in court again on April 5. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she expects additional charges to be laid against him.