The Latest: UAE deports man who praised NZ mosque attacks

AP
By Associated Press, 21 March 2019

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — The Latest on the mosque attacks in New Zealand (all times local):

11:30 p.m.

A resident of the United Arab Emirates who worked for a security firm was detained and deported after making comments on Facebook celebrating the New Zealand mosque attacks that killed 50 people.

Transguard Group says its employee, who was not identified, made the comments on his personal Facebook page under an assumed name. Transguard says the employee was stripped of his security credentials, fired and handed over to authorities.

It says the UAE, where the official religion is Islam, deported him. Transguard, which is part of the Emirates aviation group in Dubai, did not elaborate.

The UAE's National newspaper said Wednesday the employee was believed to be a security officer whose Facebook post celebrating Friday's shooting included reference to a deadly attack on Indian soldiers in Kashmir last month.

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7:45 p.m.

New Zealand's deputy prime minister has expressed condolences for Indonesian victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Winston Peters spoke Wednesday while in Jakarta for a meeting with other leaders on Indo-Pacific cooperation.

Lilik Abdul Hamid, an aircraft maintenance engineer at Air New Zealand, was killed in the Al Noor mosque. Two other Indonesians, a father and son, were seriously wounded.

Peters also expressed his appreciation of Indonesia's support during a difficult time for New Zealand. Earlier Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla expressed his gratitude that the suspect in the killings of 50 worshippers at the two mosques last Friday was arrested quickly.

Saying "our country changed forever," Peters vowed the government would not detour from the sight of the victims and that questions about gun reforms would be answered quickly.

He said, "This time next week you will see the principles behind what we have said developing into a new law to go to the Parliament."

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7:30 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the gunman who killed 50 people at two New Zealand mosques is no different from the militants of the Islamic State group.

In an opinion piece published in The Washington Post on Wednesday, Erdogan also called on Western leaders to learn from "the courage, leadership and sincerity" of New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and "embrace Muslims living in their respective countries."

The opinion piece's headline read: "The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth."

Erdogan said the West "must reject the normalization of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia."

Separately, the Turkish president has been criticized for showing excerpts from video of the mosque attacks and for comments about the Gallipoli campaign in World War I.

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6 p.m.

A father and son who fled the civil war in Syria for "the safest country in the world" have been buried before hundreds of mourners, the first funerals for victims of shootings at two mosques in New Zealand that horrified a nation known for being welcoming and diverse.

The funerals Wednesday of 44-year-old Khalid Mustafa and 15-year-old Hamza Mustafa came five days after a white supremacist methodically gunned down 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch — a massacre that he broadcast live on Facebook.

Hamza's high school principal described the student as compassionate and hardworking, and said he was an excellent horse rider who aspired to be a veterinarian.

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5:25 p.m.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says he believes police officers stopped the gunman who killed 50 people at two mosques on his way to another attack.

Bush says they believe they know where the gunman was going but won't say more because it's an active investigation.

In a 74-page manifesto he released before the attack, accused Australian gunman Brenton Tarrant said he was going to attack mosques in Christchurch and Linwood, and then one in the town of Ashburton if he made it that far.

Bush also revised his timeline, saying officers rammed the suspect off the road and arrested him 21 minutes after the first emergency call rather than 36 minutes.

Bush says FBI agents have traveled to New Zealand to help with the investigation.

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4 p.m.

Australia's prime minister says he has asked the Turkish president to withdraw his accusation of an anti-Islam motive behind Australia and New Zealand sending troops to Turkey in the World War I Gallipoli campaign.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was denouncing Islamophobia after an Australian was arrested in the killings of 50 worshippers in two mosques in New Zealand.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said "all options are on the table" if Erdogan does not withdraw his comments.

Turkish ambassador Korhan Karakoc said he had a "frank" conversation with Morrison when the envoy was summoned to Parliament House on Wednesday.

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Thousands of Australian and New Zealand citizens gather at the Gallipoli peninsula on April 25 each year to commemorate the start of the failed British-led campaign in 1915 to open a new front in the war against Germany.

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3:10 p.m.

A man accused of sharing video of a massacre in New Zealand has been jailed by a judge until his next court appearance in mid-April.

Philip Arps, 44, appeared in a Christchurch court Wednesday on two charges of distributing the killer's livestream video of last week's attack on Al Noor mosque, a violation of the country's objectionable publications law. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

Arps, heavily tattooed and dressed in a T-shirt and sweatpants, hasn't entered a plea. He remained expressionless during the hearing, his hands clasped behind his back.

Judge Stephen O'Driscoll denied him bail.

Charging documents accuse Arps of distributing the video on Saturday, one day after the massacre.

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1:15 p.m.

The first two people to be buried after last week's mosque attacks that killed 50 people are a father and his son.

Khalid Mustafa was 44 and Hamza Mustafa was 15. The teen was a student at Cashmere High School and was compassionate and hard-working, according to the principal Mark Wilson.

Hamza was an excellent horse rider who aspired to be a veterinarian, Wilson says.

Hamza's younger brother Zaed, 13, suffered gunshot wounds to the leg in the attack.

Mourners on Wednesday carried the bodies to a freshly dug gravesite, where hundreds gathered around to watch. Some were invited to scoop handfuls of dirt on top of the bodies.

Authorities spent four days constructing a special grave at a city cemetery that is designated for Muslim burials.

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12:35 p.m.

The first funeral for two of 50 victims of last week's shootings at two mosques in New Zealand has begun.

Hundreds of people are at the services in Christchurch.

The identity of the victims was not immediately known. Authorities spent four days constructing a special grave at a city cemetery that is designated for the Muslim burials.

An Australian white supremacist killed 50 worshippers in two mosques last Friday.

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11:50 a.m.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he will protest to the Turkish ambassador on Wednesday against the Turkish president's accusation of an anti-Islam motive behind Australia and New Zealand sending troops to Turkey in the World War I Gallipoli campaign.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was denouncing Islamophobia after an Australian white supremacist killed 50 worshippers in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Morrison said the comments were not helpful.

Thousands of Australian and New Zealand citizens gather at the Gallipoli peninsula on April 25 each year to commemorate the start of the failed British-led campaign in 1915 to open a new front in the war against Germany.

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11:30 a.m.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has visited a school where two boys killed in last week's mosque attacks were students.

In a speech at Cashmere High School, Ardern renewed her call for people to focus on the victims rather than the perpetrator.

She says there will be interest in the terrorist but asked the students not to say his name or dwell on him.

The Cashmere High students killed were 14-year-old Sayyad Milne and 15-year-old Hamza Mustafa. A third Cashmere student, Mustafa's 13-year-old brother Zaed, is recovering from gunshot wounds to his leg.

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10:45 a.m. Wednesday

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says police have now formally identified and released the bodies of 21 people out of the 50 who were killed in last week's mosque attacks.

Bush said that releasing the bodies was a priority for family reasons, compassionate reasons and cultural reasons.

Islamic law says that people should be buried as soon as possible after death, preferably within 24 hours.

Bush's comments came after it was announced that the first two burials of the victims are scheduled to take place Wednesday morning.

He says they hope to finish formally identifying most victims by the end of the day although some will take longer.

AP
By Associated Press, 21 March 2019

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