Mosque gunman will face 'full force of law', vows PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a pupil during her visit to Cashmere High School in Christchurch yesterday

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a pupil during her visit to Cashmere High School in Christchurch yesterday

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited Cashmere High School in Christchurch, which lost two current students to the shootings at two mosques last Friday that killed 50 people.

On Friday 15 March at about 1:40pm, a gunman entered the Masjid Al Noor mosque on Deans Ave and opened fire.

An Australian white supremacist, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, was run off the road and arrested by police while he was believed to be on his way to a third target.

"Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh", she said in Arabic, translating to: "May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you too". He is a criminal. "I utterly reject the idea that in any way in trying to ensure that we have a system that looks after those who choose to call New Zealand home, that we have perpetuated an environment where this kind of ideology can exist", she said. Ms Ardern could easily have got away by being just polite and correct in the face of the terrorist tragedy.

A security expert says New Zealand's strong show of solidarity and support for its Muslim community after Friday's attacks is key to keeping the country safe from any revenge attacks.

The prime minister also called on social media platforms to do more to combat terror, after the gunman in Christchurch live-streamed his attack on Facebook.

We can not, for instance, just simply deal with some of the issues we face with our social media to be dealt with on a case by case basis. Not just the postman.

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"There can not be a case of all profit no responsibility".

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Her visit came amid the first funerals of the victims from last week's shooting.

The parents of one victim of the mass shooting at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012 set up a campaign called No Notoriety to tackle perpetrator-focused news coverage. "There have been no mass shootings, as broadly defined, since Port Arthur".

New Zealanders wanting to own a gun must jump through several hoops to obtain a gun license, including a background check and interview, a home inspection and a gun course, according to The New York Times, though nearly every person who applies for a gun license gets one. "The trouble is we don't know how many each individual person has".

She said there were a "large number of loopholes" in New Zealand's gun laws and there were a range of things to be fixed.

Arps, heavily tattooed and dressed in a T-shirt and sweatpants, hasn't entered a plea.

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New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police have now formally identified and released the remains of 21 of those killed.

"They will bury the carpet", he said.

"We are doing all we can to undertake this work as quickly as possible and return the victims to their loved ones".

Philip Arps, 44, appeared in a Christchurch court Wednesday on two charges of distributing the killer's livestream video of the attack on the Al Noor mosque, the first mosque that was attacked, a violation of the country's objectionable publications law.

"If you are thinking about surrendering your weapon, I would encourage you to do so".

Bodies of the victims were being washed and prepared for burial in a Muslim ritual process on Tuesday, with teams of volunteers flown in from overseas to assist with the heavy workload.

Somehow, in the face of absolute terror, Jacinda Ardern has united New Zealand - and the rest of the world - to share in her strength.

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Reached via a messaging app, a member of ISIS who uses the nom de guerre Abu Omar said the video would help recruit new people and was also being spread among already loyal fighters.

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