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New Zealand mosque attacks

Who is Brenton Tarrant?

17 March 2019, 4:01:00

The Australian man allegedly responsible for livestreaming a massacre of Muslims as they prayed in New Zealand mosques was previously not known to security agencies in Australia or New Zealand, authorities have said.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, accused of carrying out attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday that resulted in the deaths of at least 50 people, including children, was charged with murder as he appeared in a district court on Saturday.

Tarrant, described by Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison as an "extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist", expressed admiration for other violent white nationalists and his intention to "create an atmosphere of fear" and to "incite violence" against Muslims.

Bob Parker, a former Christchurch mayor, said it was unclear why security agencies weren't aware of the threat Tarrant posed.

"I think there are questions to be asked about why this wasn't picked up by authorities. There does seem to be a significant amount of information that was put online sometime before this attack took place, and it does not seem to have rung alarm bells in the right places," Parker told Al Jazeera.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a media conference that Tarrant was not on a "terrorist" watch list.

"This individual was not on any watch list for either New Zealand or Australia," she said. "What I've sought from [security] agencies is further work to ascertain whether or not he should have been."

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