New Zealand PM's office received shooter's 'manifesto' minutes before attack

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media

Police said the alleged shooter was arrested in a vehicle, which was carrying improvised explosive devices, 36 minutes after they were first called. "The people of New Zealand are in our thoughts and prayers".

Twenty-eight-year-old Brenton Tarrant appeared in court on Saturday (March 16) charged with murder, after a terror attack on two Christchurch mosques that left 49 dead. He is due back in court on April 5 and police said he was likely to face further charges. He remained silent throughout the appearance, but made a hand gesture associated with white supremacists.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the suspect as an "extremist right-wing violent terrorist".

"Love always wins over hate. We pray for all New Zealanders and our muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world".

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the country's high commission in New Zealand is in touch with local authorities for more information.

Christchurch residents including the Muslim community are mourning the victims of the attacks.

The AP also reported that Tarrant, who has donated to a number of white nationalist groups but has no other direct affiliation with them, allegedly was given personal approval by Breivik to commit the mosque attacks in Christchurch, though this has yet to be verified.

"Inevitably, this is such a small community, so these people are going to be people who are familiar to us, even if we don't know them directly", he says.

"I'm so proud of what they've done", he said.

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Nearby, Akhtar Khokhur leaned on the shoulders of her friend and cried as she held up her cellphone with an image of her husband.

"I still don't know where he is", she said.

None of those arrested had a criminal history or were on watchlists in New Zealand or Australia. They have not heard from him since.

Forty-one people were killed at the Al Noor mosque.

Authorities have declined to discuss potential motives for the attack that killed 49 people and injured dozens more.

Facebook, Twitter and Google scrambled to take down the gunman's video, which was widely available on social media for hours after the bloodbath.

From time to time people outside the cordon came to place flowers under a tree to express their condolences to the victims. Semi-automatic refers to a weapon that fires one bullet per trigger pull, but automatically loads and prepares the next bullet. He also had more assault weapons in the trunk of his auto, along with what appeared to be explosives.

The Christchurch attacker could have killed even more people as he was on the move at the time of his arrest, and had more firearms in his auto, New Zealand's PM said, praising police who responded to the call in just 36 minutes. Yesterday she vowed to change New Zealand's gun laws, confirming the "primary perpetrator" used five weapons. Tarrant has spent little time in Australia in the past four years and only had minor traffic infractions on his record.

"If Jacinda Ardern moves as quickly as [former Australian prime minister] John Howard did [when he banned guns following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre], and she does it in 12 days, the probability is that she will be able to do what she wants to do", Alpers told the Guardian.

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