NZ gunman ‘planned third attack’

 

THE Australian white supremacist accused of carrying out last Friday's terror attack in Christchurch was likely on his way to carry out a third shooting before he was stopped, New Zealand's top police official said.

Fifty people were killed when a gunman opened fire inside two Christchurch mosques last Friday.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said that authorities "absolutely" believe they stopped the suspect "on the way to a further attack."

"Lives were saved," he added, but declined to go into detail to not "traumatise others."

MOSQUE'S AMAZING VOW IN WAKE OF ATTACK

It comes as Islamic leaders have pledged to hold Friday prayer at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch a week after Brenton Tarrant allegedly shot dead 42 people in the place of worship.

The mosque's religious leader Imam Gamal Fouda, who survived the attack, said it would show the world that New Zealand would not cave to terror.

"We are going to prayer here on Friday," Mr Fouda told the New Zealand Herald.

"The majority of people, including myself, we decided to come and prayer close to our site. We will never forsake it to please those people who actually attacked us."

The leader of the Linwood mosque, where Brenton Tarrant gunned down a further nine people, also told the newspaper that his congregation would join the prayer at Al Noor Mosque.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern greets a first responder of the Christchurch attacks. Picture: Getty Images
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern greets a first responder of the Christchurch attacks. Picture: Getty Images

The site has become a place of pilgrimage for New Zealanders to mourn, lay flowers and pay their respects to the dead.

A massive clean-up operation is reportedly underway inside the mosque. Mr Fouda told the New Zealand Herald that the mosque will be rebuilt on its existing site, with carpet replaced, and walls, windows, and roof being fixed.

Mr Fouda said he had been back to visit the site three times since last Friday's shooting.

He told the newspaper that he survived by hiding in the main room, huddled against the wall with other terrified congregants.

"I'm coming back here [feeling] stronger," he told the Herald.

 

Gamal Fouda, the imam of Al Noor mosque, says that Friday prayers will still be held, a week after a gunman killed 50 people. Picture: AP
Gamal Fouda, the imam of Al Noor mosque, says that Friday prayers will still be held, a week after a gunman killed 50 people. Picture: AP

"We need to stand as one community and show that we are still strong and that people will not break us. As Muslims, as New Zealanders, we will stand strong.

"We want to send a strong message, that nothing will break us as New Zealanders, and as Muslims particularly. It also sends a strong message to the world that New Zealand is still the safest place in the world and will continue to be."

Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said there will be two minutes' silence on Friday to remember the victims of Christchurch shootings.

The prayer will also be broadcast across New Zealand radio and television.

 

A police officer stands guard in front of the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch. Picture: AP
A police officer stands guard in front of the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch. Picture: AP

As the first victims were buried on Wednesday, there are still plans for a mass funeral to happen at Christchurch Memorial Park Cemetery, which is likely to happen over the next three days.

The mass funeral will reportedly include 32 victims. Each individual family can make the decision to have a private funeral, or be part of the mass funeral. Some families have opted to have their loved ones returned to their country of birth.

 

A coffin containing the body of a victim of the Christchurch terrorist attack is carried for burial at Memorial Park Cemetery. Picture: Getty Images
A coffin containing the body of a victim of the Christchurch terrorist attack is carried for burial at Memorial Park Cemetery. Picture: Getty Images

 

GUNMAN FACES 'SOLITARY AND MISERABLE' LIFE IN PRISON

The man who allegedly murdered 50 people in the Christchurch terror attack faces a "solitary and miserable experience" in prison, a former inmate has claimed.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Dr Paul Wood, an Auckland life coach and consultant who spent more than 10 years in prison for the murder of his former drug dealer, said that Brenton Tarrant would not "get an easy ride" on prison.

"I really want the New Zealand public to know that this guy is not going to be having an easy ride in prison. The softer option for him might have been suicide by police," Wood told the newspaper.

 

"For the rest of his life, he is going to have the choice out of extreme loneliness and everything that comes with prolonged isolation - and, if and when he gets put with others, anxiety about the constant threat and stress of attacks. He doesn't have any good options."

Dr Wood also made clear he wasn't advocating violence against Tarrant, but was speaking to his own experience in jail.

The Department of Corrections in New Zealand has given little detail into Tarrant's current status.

He has reportedly been moved to New Zealand's one maximum security jail where he is said to be under 24-hour surveillance.

 

He is reportedly being segregated from other prisoners, with no access to TV, radio and newspapers, and had no approved visitors.

"He is being managed in accordance with the provisions set out in the Corrections Act 2004 and our international obligations for the treatment of prisoners," The Department of Corrections said in a statement to the New Zealand Herald.


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