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Suspect in Christchurch mosque attack to face 50 murder counts


The suspect accused of carrying out an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month in what has been called a terrorist attack will be charged Friday with 50 counts of murder, authorities said.

New Zealand police said in a statement Thursday that the suspect in the March 15 attack, previously identified as Australian national Brenton Tarrant, will face 50 murder and 39 attempted murder charges when he appears in court.

“Other charges are still under consideration,” police said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attack “one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” and less than a week later announced plans to ban nearly all military-style semi-automatic and assault-style rifles.

New Zealand lawmakers on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of new gun restrictions during the first stage of a bill, the Associated Press reported. Only one of 120 lawmakers in Parliament voted against it.

The vote Tuesday was the first of three that lawmakers must pass before the bill becomes law, according to the AP.

The gunman in the attack appeared to post a lengthy manifesto detailing his white-supremacist worldview.

Ardern has said her office was among more than 30 that received the manifesto minutes before the gunfire began, but that there were no specifics that could have been acted upon.

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