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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the terror attack was "one of New Zealand's darkest days". "There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in, and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack", Ardern told a press conference in Christchurch.

Mr Nabi said his father, who ran the Afghan Association, was killed as he tried to save another person from the gunman.

Handcuffed and wearing a white prison suit, Tarrant did not speak.

The hand gesture is a symbol used by white supremacists and far-right internet trolls.

"Charges have been laid, we can expect additional charges will be appearing in the high court on the fifth of April, so there is obviously a process that needs to be gone through here", she said.

Authorities implemented extra security measures.

Tarrant, who was not granted name suppression, smirked to the camera of the media dock and frequently scanned the court room which was closed to the public.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Pacific Area Presidency also released a statement of support for Muslim communities and all others impacted by the Christchurch shootings.

Why was the country, thought of as among the most peaceful in the world, singled out for a horrifying terrorist attack?

Ardern said the victims came from across the Muslim world, with Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia among the countries rendering consular assistance. At least two Jordanian citizens were killed and five others wounded in the shootings, the country's Foreign Ministry said. A four-year-old child in a critical condition was flown to the children's Starship hospital in Auckland.

"My husband was shot in multiple places and has a drain in his lung", she wrote on Facebook. He was shot in the abdomen and the leg.

Police officers search the area near the Masjid Al Noor mosque site of one of the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand Saturday

She said: "New Zealanders will question how someone can come into being in possession of weapons of this nature".

The Australian gunman, who had based himself in Dunedin, used two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm, Ms Ardern said.

"It's the time for change", said Ardern. "And we will work as religious leaders and community leaders that we wouldn't let this feeling overcome our community members as well".

The brazen nature of the broadcast, and the apparent failure of tech companies to prevent its proliferation online, raised concerns.

"New Zealand is open to any religion and faith".

Sahra Ahmed, a New Zealander of Somali origin, said she was touched by the PM's gesture.

Ardern said the Australian suspect was not on any watch lists and did not have a criminal record.

At first, Mr Taylor and his colleagues had no idea what was happening, initially believing the alarms, sirens and general panic sweeping through the New Zealand city were signs of another quake, similar to the 6.2-level seismic disaster that destroyed massive swathes of the city in 2011.

Police took three men and a woman into custody. Such violence, he says, is "being almost endorsed by political rhetoric around banning immigration of Muslims and criminalizing refugees". "I'd like to take him back to Afghanistan, this is his homeland", Omar Nabi said.

Grafton residents who knew Tarrant as a resident have told 9News they remember him as a "relatively normal" person who worked at a local gym.

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