PM statement on the New Zealand attack: 15 March 2019

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At least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques full of worshippers attending Friday prayers on what the prime minister called "one of New Zealand's darkest days".

They include a 28-year-old man who was charged with murder and was due to appear in court Saturday. A raft of further charges are expected.

Self-professed fascist occasionally turned to look and smirked at media present in court during the brief hearing that was held behind closed doors for security reasons. Tarrant was remanded in custody without plea to the high court in Christchurch on 5 April. More than 45 people were being treated for gunshot injuries at a nearby hospital.

Outside the court, guarded by heavily armed police in body armor, the sons of 71-year-old Afghan man Daoud Nabi demanded justice.

"It's outrageous, the feeling is outrageous", he said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament on March 15, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand.

One Saudi citizen was killed and another wounded, according to Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television news channel.

Ms Ardern said she would like to see semi-automatic weapons banned and was one of the issues she was looking 'at with immediate effect'.

Three people were arrested in connection with the shootings.

She said inquires were ongoing to establish whether the other two were directly involved. A third person who was earlier arrested was said to be a member of the public with a firearm who was trying to help.

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In signs police say show a well-planned attack, army personnel were also called in to dismantle explosive devices found in a stopped auto and officers were in the evening searching a house in Dunedin, 360 kilometres away, clearing nearby homes for safety.

Tributes to the victims poured in from around the world. But we utterly reject and condemn you.

Naeem Rashid tried to overpower Brenton Tarrant and protect fellow worshippers at Al Noor Mosque but was shot as he did so. The remaining victim succumbed in hospital. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home.

The Bangladesh cricket team was at one of the mosques when the shooting started, but the players were able to escape. "Some were covered in blood", he told AFP.

Those "elements" were people affiliated with the Canadian Yellow Vest movement, whose Facebook page included some comments celebrating the New Zealand attacks Friday.

Police warned Muslims across the country not to visit mosques "anywhere in New Zealand" in the wake of the Christchurch attacks. Friday is Islam's holy day.

Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand's population, a 2013 census showed.

Dozens of people laid flowers at cordons near both mosques in Christchurch, which is still rebuilding after a devastating natural disaster in 2011 that killed nearly 200 people.

One witness told stuff.co.nz he was praying when he heard shooting - and then saw his wife lying dead on the footpath outside when he fled.

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