New Zealand Terror Suspect Planned Third Attack – Police Chief
By Staff, Agencies
The suspect accused of carrying out Friday's terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, was likely on his way to carry out a third shooting before he was stopped by authorities, New Zealand's top police official said.
Fifty people were martyred when a terrorist opened fire inside two mosques last week. Authorities have charged Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian man, with murder in connection with the incident. More charges are expected.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Wednesday 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 "traumatize others."
The first funerals were held Wednesday for Khaled Mustafa, 44, and his son, 15-year-old Hamza.
Hundreds of people stood in solemn silence at Memorial Park Cemetery, where graves had been dug to bury dozens of victims.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was back in Christchurch, Wednesday, to offer comfort to those affected by the tragedy.
Speaking at news conference, Ardern announced that the country will hold a two minute silence to commemorate the victims of the mosque massacre this coming Friday.
"There's a sense among New Zealanders that they wish to show to the Muslim community their support, their love," said Ardern.
"But the challenge for all of us going forward is that they're safety is assured by making sure we never have an environment where violent extremist ideology can flourish. And that means addressing racism and extremism wherever it emerges."
Ardern also announced that the Islamic call to prayer will be broadcast Friday on TV New Zealand and Radio New Zealand in support of the country's Muslim population.