The man said to be behind the deadly New Zealand mosque shootings is an Australian who vowed to fight against ‘Muslim invaders’. Inspired by a Norwegian terrorist, he livestreamed himself while shooting worshippers.
The attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand claimed 49 lives, the police comissioner confirmed. Four people were detained in connection with the tragedy.
One of the gunmen identified himself on social media as a 28-year-old Australian named Brenton Tarrant. He describedhimself as a “regular White man” who comes from a low-income working-class family and had “a regular childhood.”
Terrorist attacks at #Christchurch mosque
– Death toll 40+– 25-30 people in critical condition. – 4 perpetrators in custody (led by the man below) – Attack was videotaped – Bombs were found in perpetrators cars pic.twitter.com/1UJWDfB4mO
— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) March 15, 2019
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that an Australian national was among the detained suspects.
The man used a GoPro to livestream the attack on the Al Noor Mosque. The footage was promptly removed by Facebook at the request of police, but parts of it were published by local media. The POV-style video showed the gunman driving up to the mosque and taking firearms out of the trunk of his car.
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The weapons contained inscriptions referencing famous European battles against Muslims and neo-Nazi slogans. One of the battles referenced is the 1683 Battle of Vienna against the Ottoman Empire.
The man’s social media account has since been blocked.
Shortly before the attack, he published a 73-page ‘manifesto’ in which he vowed “revenge” against Muslim “invaders.” According to reports, he also wrote that he was inspired by right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.
He apparently picked the particular mosque to attack because a church once stood at the same place. He also mentioned a 2017 terrorist attack in Stockholm where five people died. One of them was an 11-year-old girl, who the shooter wrote he would avenge.