Toronto vigil honors victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

Flowers left at cordon

Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated to the public on Saturday morning that New Zealand's gun law would be changed in the wake of the terror attacks, Xinhua reported.

Witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black enter the mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.

Locals lay flowers in tribute to those killed and injured at Deans Avenue near the Al Noor Mosque.

"He had a big gun. he came and started shooting everyone in the mosque, everywhere", said the man, Ahmad Al-Mahmoud.

Ibrahim said he managed to escape via the backdoor of the mosque: "Lots of people we were inside and there was a door on the right side for the ladies entrance section".

The second attack took place at the Linwood mosque about 5 kilometres away.

In signs police say show a well-planned attack, army personnel were also called in to dismantle explosive devices found in a stopped vehicle and officers were on Friday evening searching a house in Dunedin, 360 kilometres away, clearing nearby homes for safety.

The weapons also appeared to have been modified, Ardern told reporters in Christchurch on Saturday. The man burst into the mosque as worshippers were kneeling for prayers.

None of those arrested had a criminal history or was on any watchlist in New Zealand or Australia. Thirty six people were still being treated on Saturday, of which 11 remained in intensive care. One person taken to a hospital died from injuries sustained during the attack. For many, this may not have been the place they were born.

Ardern alluded at a news conference to anti-immigrant sentiment as the possible motive, saying that while many people affected by the shootings may be migrants or refugees, "they have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home". The UK stands ready to support New Zealand however we can.

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
New Zealand Attack: What We Know

Ardern said the victims came from across the Muslim world, with Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia among the countries rendering consular assistance. "And he was dead", Khan told CNN.

Five guns were used by the primary shooter in the attack, the Prime Minister said; two were semiautomatic guns, and two were shotguns.

"Syed Moazzam Shah, Minister Political, Pakistan High Commission in New Zealand, Cell +64 21 779 495 is our focal point".

Armed police were deployed at several locations in all cities, unusual in a country that has had low levels of gun violence. Neighbouring Australia has virtually banned semi-automatic rifles from private ownership since a lone gunman killed 35 people with assault rifles in 1996. The minimum legal age to own a gun in New Zealand is 16, or 18 for military-style semi-automatic weapons.

He thanked the neighbours of the mosque for their support and said "New Zealand people are nice". Versions of the video reportedly persisted on the sites for hours after the shootings.

"We are really not feeling safe at the moment", he added.

Whether in the form of "lone-wolf" or coordinated attacks, in yesterday's shooting we see analogues not only in the terrorism against Muslims in the Quebec and Finsbury Park mosque attacks, but in the terrorism against Jews in Pittsburgh, against African-Americans in Charleston, and even against the concept of multiculturalism itself in the 2011 Norway attacks.

Leaders around the world expressed sorrow and disgust at the attacks, with some deploring the demonisation of Muslims.

Tarrant is believed to be the author of a 74-age manifesto posted online before the attacks occurred. Family and friends hung around waiting for news of their loved ones.

Saskatoon police said while there is no information to suggest a similar threat exists in the city, police want to ensure they address concerns within Saskatoon's Muslim community.

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