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iStock/artas(WELLINGTON, New Zealand) -- New Zealand residents have been told to prepare for something that Americans rarely see: legislative action in the wake of a mass shooting.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed there will be changes to the country's gun laws following the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history.

"What we're looking here is for an effective gun law that will make a difference," Ardern said Monday at news conference before a cabinet meeting. Ardern said they would be discussing "what we have a responsibility to pursue in the aftermath of this terrorist attack, so that will include work around gun laws."

The shooting that left 50 people dead after a self-proclaimed white supremacist opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday has led to a number of questions about how it could have happened in a country in which the last deadliest mass shooting took place nearly 30 years ago.

"While work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the handling of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change," Ardern said Monday. The alleged shooter possessed one of the country’s required gun licenses.

The prime minister even put a timeline on the changes that she planned to discuss with the cabinet, saying that "within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer."

New Zealand has a far lower rate of gun homicides than the U.S., but the deadly mass shooting last week exponentially increased its number of gun fatalities.

There were a total of 69 murders with a firearm in the entire country from 2008 to 2017, according to New Zealand police.

From December 1998 to December 2018, there were a total of 15 murders committed by someone who had a firearms license, according to police.

By comparison, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2017, there were 39,773 gun deaths in the U.S., the majority of which were suicides. Of that total number, 37 percent were homicides with guns, meaning that in one year alone there were more than 14,700 gun homicides in the U.S.

The two countries are dramatically different in size, and the population of the U.S. is more than 68 times larger than New Zealand.

But gun control advocacy groups in the U.S. are applauding New Zealand's promise of swift action after the mass shooting.

David Hogg, a former Parkland student-turned-activist who survived a mass shooting at his school during which 17 people were killed, tweeted his reaction to Ardern's vow, writing "Imagine."

Peter Ambler, the executive director of Giffords, a gun violence-prevention advocacy group, told ABC News that he thought Ardern’s actions were "refreshing."

"Americans should absolutely look to other countries as to what's possible," Ambler told ABC News.

In 2019, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan background check bill, one of the most far-reaching gun laws passed in recent memory. However, it is not expected to pass the Republican-controlled Senate.

"The politics of this issue are changing in this country," Ambler said, noting that the shift in the U.S. has happened incrementally "over the past six years," as opposed to after a single incident, like in New Zealand.

Ambler said that Ardern's comments can inspire not just her constituents but also the U.S, saying that her actions give "Americans an example of the type of courage they should expect form their leaders."

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iStock/JANIFEST(MOSCOW) -- A court in Chechnya has sentenced a prominent human rights worker to four years prison in a case that has been widely condemned by international rights organizations as fabricated, and which some fear may unleash a new wave of repression in the troubled Russian province.

Oyub Titiev, the director of the local branch of Memorial, one of Russia’s most respected human rights organizations, was convicted of marijuana possession, a charge his lawyers said was manufactured in order to punish Titiev for his work investigating and exposing human rights abuses in Chechnya, including extrajudicial killings.

Memorial has long worked to record such crimes in Chechnya, a semi-autonomous republic in southern Russia that is ruled by strongman president Ramzan Kadyrov. Human rights abuses and violent attacks on Kadyrov's opponents have been reported in Chechnya, and human rights campaigners fear that Titiev’s trial could mark the beginning of a renewed crackdown after Kadyrov said that he would no longer allow rights activists to operate in the region.

“I officially declare to human rights activists: after the end of the trial, Chechnya will be forbidden territory for them, like it is for terrorists and extremists,” Kadyrov said in late August of 2018, referring to Titiev’s trial in a speech to local law enforcement that aired on Chechen television.

The guilty verdict against Titiev was expected by his colleagues and human right organizations, which have slammed the case as a show trial, filled with inconsistencies and fabricated evidence.

“The guilty verdict against Oyub Titiev is gross injustice to him, a disgrace to Russian criminal justice system, and a further sign that Ramzan Kadyrov, the governor of Chechnya, will be emboldened to silence reporting on human rights abuses,” Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Titiev was arrested in January of 2018 by Chechen police, who claimed to have found 200 grams of marijuana in his car. Titiev's lawyers have accused police of planting the drug in Titiev's vehicle after they arrested him.

Director of Memorial's Chechnya office since 2009, Titiev had been working for the organization since 2001. His case has become one of Russia's most prominent political trials. In October, the European Union awarded Titiev a prestigious human rights prize, giving it to him in absentia.

Human rights workers and journalists have for years been frequent targets for attacks in Chechnya, where dissent is heavily suppressed.

Natalia Estemirova, Titiev's predecessor as director of Memorial’s Chechnya office, was kidnapped in Grozny and shot dead outside the city in 2009. In 2016, masked men attacked a group of journalists trying to enter Chechnya on a tour organized by the Committee to Prevent Torture, beating the reporters and setting their bus on fire. The same month, the head of the organization, Ilya Kalyapin was attacked in Grozny.

In 2017 and again this January, reports emerged that dozens of people suspected of being gay were rounded up and tortured by Chechen security forces. Some have linked the renewed surge in repression and pressure against rights activists to the international outcry that followed those round ups, after which Kadyrov and some of his top lieutenants sanctioned by the European Union and the U.S.

Memorial has long been a target of Kadyrov, and repeatedly suffered attacks, and. Around the time of Titiev’s arrest, the organization’s office in a neighboring region was burnt down by masked men. One of Titiev’s colleague in Dagestan was beaten outside his home last March.

It’s unclear why Titiev, who has been documenting crimes for years, was arrested now. His colleagues have said that in the months before he was detained, he had been investigating alleged extrajudicial killings by security forces linked to Kadyrov.

Some rights researchers have attributed the case to a growing intolerance in Chechnya for human rights organizations in any form.

“Memorial was the last human rights organization that still maintained a presence in Chechnya and exposed enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and other egregious abuses,” Human Rights Watch wrote ahead of Monday’s verdict. Titiev’s trial, the organization wrote, was aimed at “forcing Memorial completely out of Chechnya.”

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ABC News(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- The alleged gunman who authorities said killed 50 worshippers and wounded dozens more at two mosques in New Zealand apparently took target practice at a gun range that a military veteran claimed he reported to police after overhearing members speaking of "zombie apocalypses" and "homicidal fantasies."

Police confirmed Monday that they are investigating Brenton Tarrant's connection to the Bruce Rifle Club and gun range in Milton, New Zealand, more than 400 miles south of Christchurch, where he allegedly went on a shooting rampage on Friday.

Investigators believe Tarrant took target practice at the club in the days leading up to the attack.

Pete Breidahl, a former New Zealand military machine gunner, posted a video on Facebook in the aftermath of the shootings claiming he asked police in the nearby town of Dunedin to investigate the rifle club based on troubling things he witnessed and overheard.

He said he saw members taking target practice using guns with 30-bullet magazines, talking about "zombie apocalypses, rifles for combat when they're overweight and ... useless" and discussing "homicidal fantasies."

Breidahl told the New York Times that he reported the club to police in 2017, shortly after visiting the club for the first time. He told the newspaper he was concerned about the mental stability of the club's members and the way they handled guns.

"They wore cammo around the range, like they were living some military base fantasy," Breidahl said.

He told The Times that he contacted police following the Christchurch massacre and says he is scheduled to meet with investigators on Tuesday.

"I went there for one shoot and was so ... horrified by what I saw. That was it for me," Breidhal said in his video.

"That ... made me concerned enough about the safety of people to go to a ... police officer, the arms officer, and say, 'You've got to do something about the Bruce Rifle Club, those people are not ... right," Breidahl said.

Bruce Rifle Club's vice president Scott Williams would only confirm to the RNZ Radio Network, New Zealand's public-service radio broadcaster, that Tarrant became a member of the club last year. He said Tarrant never did anything at the club that raised suspicions.

Williams told RNZ Radio that club members were shocked and stunned by the killing rampage and are cooperating with police.

Even as the police continued to probe what authorities called the deadliest terrorist attack in New Zealand history, three people were shot to death on a public tram in the Netherlands Monday in what police said had the hallmarks of a terrorist attack. A manhunt was underway for a suspect or suspects in the attack that occurred about 30 miles southeast of Amsterdam.

Alleged killer's live stream

Alleged mass killer Brenton Tarrant, an Australian living in New Zealand, carried out the ambush attacks on Friday afternoon, livestreaming the bloodshed on Facebook as he unleashed a torrent of gunfire inside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, killing 42 Muslim worshipers and wounding scores of others, police said.

Tarrant -- dressed in military tactical gear, including a helmet and camouflage gloves -- then drove three miles across Christchurch to the Linwood mosque, where he allegedly opened fire, killing another eight people engaged in afternoon prayers, police said.

At least 50 people were wounded in the twin attacks. David Meates, chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board, said Monday that 31 victims remained hospitalized, nine in critical condition, including a 4-year-old girl.

Law enforcement officers swarmed both mosques and captured Tarrant as he attempted to flee the Linwood mosque.

Tarrant has, so far, been charged with one count of murder, but more murder charges are expected to be filed against the 28-year-old suspect, who in online writings, expressed hatred for immigrants and espoused white supremacist views against minorities, authorities said.

Tarrant, who appeared briefly in court on Saturday, has told authorities he plans to represent himself in the case.

Gunman acted alone


New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police are certain that Tarrant was the only gunman but aren't ruling out that he had support.

"I would like to state that we believe absolutely there was only one attacker responsible for this," Bush said at a news conference on Monday. "That doesn't mean there weren't possibly other people in support and that continues to form a very, very important part of our investigation."

New Zealand officials and Facebook workers have worked feverishly to scrub the internet of Tarrant's alleged livestream video of the attack, 17 minutes of which made it online before authorities were able stop it.

A 22-year-old New Zealand citizen has been arrested in connection with distribution of the video and Facebook officials said they removed 1.5 million videos of the attack from the global social media platform within the first 24 hours that followed the rampage.

Despite those efforts, the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, used an edited version of the attack at an election rally on Sunday in an apparent attempt to galvanize support from Islamist followers.

Gun store owner speaks out

The alleged killer obtained a New Zealand gun license in November 2017 and bought his first firearm at Gun City in Christchurch in March 2018, the owner of the gun store said during a news conference Monday.

Gun City owner David Tipple said Tarrant purchased four guns from the store but denied selling him a semi-automatic rifle used in the mosque attacks.

"We detected nothing extraordinary about the license holder. The military style semi-auto used by the alleged gunman was not purchased from Gun City," Tipple said. "All Gun City sales to this individual followed a police verified online mail order process."

As protesters gathered outside his store condemning the attack, Tipple said that he and his staff "are dismayed and disgusted" by the mass killings at the mosques.

"We can't comprehend how the despicable actions could take place at a place of prayer and worship," Tipple said.

'Zombie apocalypses'

Police are also investigating Tarrant's connection to the Bruce Rifle Club and gun range in Milton, New Zealand, more than 400 miles south of Christchurch. Investigators believe Tarrant took target practice at the club in the days leading up to the attack.

Pete Breidhal, a former New Zealand military machine gunner, posted a video on Facebook in the aftermath of the shootings, claiming he asked police to investigate the rifle club years ago after hearing members discussing "zombie apocalypses" and mass shootings.

"I went there for one shoot and was so ... horrified by what I saw. That was it for me," Breidhal said in his video.

The investigation of the rampage has spread to Tarrant's homeland of Australia, more than 2,500 miles from New Zealand. The New South Wales Joint counter-terrorism team in Australia said Monday that they executed search warrants on two homes as part of the New Zealand investigation.

The law enforcement agency said they searched homes believed connected to Tarrant in Sandy Beach and in Lawrence, both near the coast of New South Wales.

"The family of the Australian man arrested in Christchurch continues to assist police with their inquiries," the joint counter-terrorism team said in a statement. "The community can be assured that there is no information to suggest a current or impending threat related to this search warrants."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ardern said authorities hope to release all of the murdered victims to their loved ones by Wednesday. Ardern said the New Zealand government will cover the costs of the funerals.

"Everyone is grieving and I'm grieving with them, but I also have a very important job to do," Ardern said. "I need to ensure that we are looking after those affected, that they have ongoing care and support not just in the coming days but the coming months and years. So that's why I'm incredibly focused. I have a job to do."

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ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/AFP/Getty Images(UTRECHT, Netherlands) -- At least three people are dead and five others are wounded after a suspect opened fire on a tram Monday morning, local authorities said.

Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen confirmed the fatalities in a video posted to Twitter in Dutch.

The shooting occurred near the 24 Oktoberplein station in Utrecht, located about 30 miles southeast of Amsterdam in central Netherlands.

The main suspect, a 37-year-old Turkish-born man, was apprehended, the mayor and Rob van Bree of the Utrecht police said in an early evening press conference. At this time, a motive remains unknown.

A second person was also arrested they said, although that person's identity and connection to the incident is unclear.

Earlier in the day, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, the national coordinator for counterterrorism and security, said at a press conference that it was unclear whether other perpetrators were involved in the shooting.

Utrecht police had asked for the public's help in finding Gokman Tanis, the 37-year-old believed to be connected to the shooting.

The public had also been urged to stay indoors and away from the area.

On Monday morning, Utrecht police said on Twitter they were investigating a shooting, adding that a "possible terrorist motif is part of the investigation." The shooting happened around 10:50 a.m. local time.

The Dutch counterterror office raised Utrecht's threat level to maximum, according to The Associated Press.

The police is investigating the shooting at the #24oktoberplein in Utrecht this morning. An possible terrorist motif is part of the investigation.

— Politie Utrecht (@PolitieUtrecht) March 18, 2019

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@Bea_Aero/Twitter(ADDIS ABABA, Ethi­o­pia) -- Flight data from last week's deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash showed "clear similarities" with another fatal crash that involved Boeing's 737 Max 8 aircraft, Ethiopia's transport minister said Sunday.

Dagmawit Moges told journalists flight recorder data showed links between the crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10 and Lion Air Flight 610 in October, according to the Washington Post.

Moges didn't offer up specific details to support her claim, but she did say the government would release a detailed report within a month or so.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board said they're working with the full cooperation of Ethiopian authorities to transcribe and analyze information retrieved from the flight data recorder, but that data hadn't been verified as of Sunday afternoon, sources with knowledge of the investigation told ABC News.

The March 10 crash killed 157 people from more than two dozen countries when the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight plummeted shortly after takeoff.

The accident prompted the U.S. and other major countries to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 jets until its safety could be confirmed.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order to ground the jets on Wednesday, citing satellite-based tracking data that linked the Ethiopia jet's movements to those of Lion Air Flight 610, which killed 189 people when it crashed off Indonesia in October.

Boeing issued a statement shortly after the transportation minister's press conference on Sunday, but it did not address her claims directly.

"While investigators continue to work to establish definitive conclusions, Boeing is finalizing its development of a previously announced software update and pilot training revision that will address the MCAS flight control law's behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs," the statement said. "We also continue to provide technical assistance at the request of and under the direction of the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. Accredited Representative working with Ethiopian investigators."

"In accordance with international protocol," the statement continued, "all inquiries about the ongoing accident investigation must be directed to the investigating authorities."

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Franco Origlia/Getty Images(ROME) -- As Pope Francis condemned the mass killing of 50 worshippers at two New Zealand mosques and led a prayer for the victims on Sunday in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, some of the bodies of those slaughtered were being returned to their loved ones for burial.

Pope Francis called the mass shooting in Christchurch a "horrible attack" and implored people around the world to fight anti-immigrant and white supremacist extremism espoused by the alleged killer.

"I pray for the dead, the injured and their families," the pope said. "I am close to our Muslim brothers and to all that community, and I renew an invitation to join in prayer and gestures of peace to combat hate and violence. Let's pray together in silence for our Muslim brothers who have been killed."

The alleged gunman, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, launched his vicious attack Friday afternoon in Christchurch on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, where Muslims were gathered for prayer services.

In a twisted move, Tarrant allegedly livestreamed the attacks on Facebook live, showing his face on camera and his arsenal of high-powered weapons and ammo clips used in the massacre lying on the passenger side floor of his vehicle. The livestream was broadcast for 17 minutes before Facebook officials took action to end it.

Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, allegedly started the attack at the Al Noor mosque, killing 42 people and wounding scores of others before driving three miles to the Linwood mosque and fatally shooting eight victims, New Zealand police said. Tarrant was captured by police when they rammed his car off the road as he tried to flee.

The slain victims ranged from age 3 to 77, and included at least four women, officials said.

The alleged gunman's grandmother and uncle spoke out against the attack, saying they are as stunned as anyone, saying their relative is "obviously not of sound mind."

"It's just so much for everything to take in that somebody in our family would do anything like this," the grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, told 9News in Australia in an exclusive interview.

She said her grandson spent most of his time on computers, "learning all the ins and out" and playing video games.

"It's only since he traveled overseas, I think that that boy has changed completely [from] the boy we knew," the grandmother said.

Tarrant's uncle, Terry Fitzgerald, said he couldn't believe his nephew was involved in what New Zealand officials described as the "worst terrorist attack in New Zealand's history" until he saw his photo on TV news reports.

"We say sorry, for the families over there, for the dead and the injured. Yeah we just, can't think nothing else, just want to go home and hide," Terry Fitzgerald told 9News.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that some of the bodies would be returned to their loved ones on Sunday for burial. Graves were already being dug for the victims even as authorities were still working to identify the victims.

Mike Bush, New Zealand's commissioner of police, said authorities are keenly "aware of the cultural and religious needs" of victims, whose faith customarily calls for Muslims to be buried within 24 hours of death.

Authorities are working as "quickly and sensitively as possible" to return the bodies to grieving family members, Bush said Saturday.

Investigators said three other people arrested in the aftermath of the attacks apparently were not involved in the massacre and released.

Bush said an additional 50 people were wounded in the rampage. He said 36 remained hospitalized, two in critical condition.

Tarrant has been charged with murder. In his first court appearance on Saturday, Tarrant briefly flashed hand gestures that some witnesses and officials described as white supremacist signals.

In online writings, Tarrant, according to investigators, spewed hatred aimed at non-white people immigrating to Western countries.

Tarrant also cited in his online writings the 2015 attack by white supremacist Dylann Roof that left nine African-American worshippers dead at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, according to investigators. He also said in his writings that he was inspired by Anders Breivik, a Norwegian far-right terrorist, who killed 77 people in a rampage in Norway, officials said.

He also praised President Donald Trump in his online writings as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.

On Friday, Trump was asked by ABC News' Terry Moran if he considered white nationalism on the rise across the world.

"I don't, really," Trump, sitting at his desk in the Oval Office, replied. "I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems."

FBI statistics show that the number of hate crimes in the United States rose 17 percent from 2016 to 2017. Of the 6,000 suspects who allegedly carried out the crimes on 8,000 victims, 58 percent were motivated by hate and 22 percent by religion, according to the FBI.

Lianne Dalziel, the mayor of Christchurch, told ABC News that the mass shooting exposed the rise of extremism in her country, which recorded just 35 murders in all of 2017. Dalziel pointed out that the hatred she has seen locally was imported to inflict damage on a safe city in a safe country.

Dalziel said cities across the world need to gather together and unify around diversity.

Tom Bossert, the former homeland security adviser to Trump and former deputy homeland security adviser under President George W. Bush, said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that Trump isn't downplaying the hate crimes in the country, but apparently comparing the numbers to atrocities committed to well-organized groups like ISIS.

"Both are morally repugnant and difficult challenges, and so we don't want to downplay it," Bossert told ABC News' chief anchor George Stephanopoulos. "I think what the president said is it's a smaller threat. I hope he doesn't maintain the position that it's not a threat at all. Some resources are needed. Clearly this is a trend that needs to be addressed."

Bossert also said authorities should consider requiring delays on live broadcasts or live streaming to prevent others bent on committing mass killings from following in the alleged footstep of the Christchurch mass shooter.

"There's no negative or downside to forcing some delay into that broadcast," Bossert said. "It will require some time and money, but I think it's something we should consider."

Jae Johnson, former secretary of homeland security under President Barack Obama, said on "This Week" that companies that provide social media platforms be required to be more vigilant when it comes to policing hate speech.

"In social media now there are very very few barriers to entry and, frankly, standards of exit," Johnson said.

Johnson also suggested that voters should require a prerequisite for all candidates running for public office to adopt a more civil tone in what they say publicly and to lower the level of espousing ideas that can be interpreted as condoning acts of extremist hate.

"Americans do listen to their leaders," Johnson said.

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ABC News(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- A 22-year-old man from New Zealand has been arrested in connection with distribution of the video recording of Friday's tragic mosque shootings that killed 50 people.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, who has been charged with murder in the mass shooting, filmed the massacres at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Masjid in Christchurch on a Facebook livestream. Facebook was notified of the video and immediately took steps to remove the user and the recording, but not before it had been downloaded and reposted across the internet.

The 22-year-old, who has not been named by police, will be charged under the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act. He is expected to appear in court Monday.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have repeatedly urged citizens and the media not to share footage of the attack.

Mia Garlick, a spokesperson for Facebook New Zealand, said 1.5 million videos of the attack had been removed from the platform globally within the first 24 hours of it occurring. That included 1.2 million that were blocked during the upload stage.

Police said they do not believe the 22-year-old was directly involved with the attack and is not being charged in relation to it.

"We would like to remind people that it is an offence to distribute or possess an objectionable publication (under the Films Videos and Publications Classifications Act 1993), which carries a penalty of imprisonment," New Zealand police said in a statement.

"The live stream video of the shootings in Christchurch has been classified by the Chief Censor’s Office as objectionable," police added.

Sky News Australia was taken off the air by New Zealand's largest satellite provider after the network repeatedly showed clips of the shooting.

Tarrant, who made an initial appearance in court Saturday, is expected to face additional charges.

A man and woman were also arrested in the hours following the attack, but the woman was released without charges. The man is facing a weapons charge unrelated to the attack itself.

In addition to the 50 people killed, 50 others were injured and 12 remain in critical condition, officials said Sunday.

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iStock/Thinkstock(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) -- Audio recordings from doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 were successfully recovered by French authorities on Saturday.

The data from the Ethiopian Airlines cockpit voice recorder was downloaded by the French Civil Aviation Safety Agency (BEA), which is doing the work as Ethiopian officials do not have the proper capabilities to do so.

The EBA announced on Twitter that data from the CVR was transferred to Ethiopian investigators, adding that they did not listen to the audio files.

Work on retrieving information from the flight data recorder will resume on Sunday.

In an earlier tweet, the BEA said that representatives from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing have been present as they're conducting their work.

Processing on the plane's voice recorder and data recorder began on Friday.

Flight 302 crashed six minutes after takeoff on March 10, killing all 157 people on board the aircraft. The plane had taken off from Addis Ababa and was destined for Nairobi, Kenya.

The crash triggered a worldwide fear over the safety of Boeing's new 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft. The FAA and President Donald Trump eventually announced all Max 8s and 9s would be grounded in the U.S. after countries around the world took the planes out of service or suspended the planes from flying through their airspace.

Fear over the Boeing Max jets was ignited due to similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and one last October in Indonesia.

It is unclear how much the Ethiopian Airlines accident and last fall's Lion Air flight 610 crash have in common other than the aircraft type and that the flights went down shortly after takeoff while apparently struggling to gain altitude.

Ethiopian officials are expected to announce findings from both of the black boxes in the week ahead.

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Fiona Goodall/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- The death toll from the largest terror attack in New Zealand's history has now risen to 50, police said.

For those who survived the mass shooting, 34 are still hospitalized including 12 patients in the intensive care unit and are in critical condition, said Christchurch Hospital head of Surgery Greg Robertson at a news conference on Sunday afternoon local time.

Two children, who under the age of 16, are among the victims in stable condition, and two adults are still in critical condition, said Christchurch Hospital head of Surgery Greg Robertson at a news conference on Sunday afternoon local time.

On Thursday morning, a gunman, who had posted white supremacist language on social media attacked two mosques in Christchurch in a shooting spree he livestreamed on Facebook.

Authorities have named Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian citizen, as the shooter. He was charged with murder and appeared in Christchurch District Court on Saturday and remanded back into custody without entering a plea. He may face more charges.

His next court appearance will be on April 5.

Three other people, who have been taken into custody, were deemed unrelated to the attack, Bush said.

Two others were stopped because they had a firearm, Bush said.

"A woman was released without charge. A man in that vehicle was charged with a firearms offense. We do not believe they were involved in these attacks," Bush said.

Another 18-year old man who "went to assist children and did decide to arm themselves which is not the right approach" will appear in court on Monday, Bush said, adding that the charge was "tangential to this matter" and that police "believe he was involved in this attack."

"A list of victims’ names have been shared with family," Bush said. The list was not formalized yet and would not yet be distributed.

Security around mosques "will continue until we believe there is no threat," said Bush, adding, that law enforcement around the country would stay on high alert to protect citizens and visitors.

Tarrant had a New Zealand firearms license he obtained in 2017, and appeared to have modified the gun he used, Bush said.

On Saturday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern again disavowed the attacks and anti-Muslim sentiment, while promising a change to the country's gun laws.

"This is not the New Zealand that any of us know," she told reporters at a press conference. "The commissioner has advised that security from police will continue at mosques throughout New Zealand until it is deemed that there is no longer a threat."

She also added to the timeline of the attacks, saying that the police "responded immediately" to the attack, saying Tarrant "was in custody 36 minutes from receiving the first call. The offender was mobile. There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack."

Arder also said the weapons used in the attack "appear to have been modified," a challenge that the government will "look to address in changing our laws."

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iStock/chelovek(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- An Australian lawmaker who has been condemned for making anti-immigration remarks hours after the New Zealand mosque attacks had egg on his face on Saturday. Literally.

Fraser Anning, 69, a far-right Queensland senator, was speaking to reporters in Melbourne when a 17-year-old boy cracked a raw egg against the politician's head, video of the incident shows. The footage quickly went viral on social media, where he was given the nickname "eggboy."

Anning immediately punched back at the teen as egg yolk skittled down his face, the video showed. He also attempted to get a few kicks in before being fully restrained. Others in attendance, meanwhile, appeared to hold down the teen in a chokehold.

Victoria police took the teen into custody before releasing him without charges, but are investigating the incident, according to local media reports. The police were not immediately available for comment.

Anning, who is known for anti-immigration language, immediately blamed the New Zealand attacks on Muslim immigration. In the past, he has invoked Nazi language of a "final solution" to combat Muslim immigration to Australia.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison called Anning’s inflammatory comments blaming the Islamic community “appalling and ugly."

"I would normally not want to give this any oxygen, but I want to absolutely and completely denounce the statements made by Senator Anning…on this horrendous terrorist attack, with issues of immigration, in his attack on Islamic faith specifically," Morrison said, adding that his government would censure the senator.

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iStock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- After nearly 18 years of war, the U.S. and the Taliban are deeply engaged in what was once unthinkable: peace talks.

The militant group has killed countless American soldiers and even more Afghan troops and civilians. It’s been bombed and blown up by U.S. weaponry, pushed out of control and from the capital, Kabul -- only to fight its way back toward power year after year.

And yet, American diplomats now find themselves on the other side of the table, without Afghan government representatives, to negotiate an agreement that will see U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

The United States has a longstanding policy of not negotiating with terrorists.

However, a key part of the Trump administration's decision to engage the Taliban directly stems from the Afghan group not being on the State Department's list of "foreign terrorist organizations," or FTOs.

That’s a legal designation made by the U.S. government that allows it to bring penalties -- financial sanctions, visa restrictions, prosecution of individual supporters -- against a group. The department has a long list of FTOs, from groups such as the Basque separatists in Spain and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, to more well-known names such as al Qaeda, ISIS and Hezbollah.

While the Taliban’s Pakistan-based branch was designated as an FTO in 2010, the Taliban itself has never been.

The group likely does meet the criteria: It is foreign-based, actively engaged in terrorist activity, and that activity is a threat to U.S. national security interests. With the Taliban, the label should be a “no-brainer,” as one U.S. official told ABC News.

This is also complicated by the fact that senior U.S. officials occasionally refer to them as terrorists, despite lacking the legal designation. On March 4, for example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. was “trying to negotiate with the Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan.”

When asked about the discrepancy, a State Department spokesperson pointed to the Taliban’s listing as a Treasury Department “specially designated global terrorist” entity since 2002. That separate designation means it and its members are subject to sanctions; embargoes; and, because of an act of Congress in 2008, other things such as immigration restrictions.

Because of that, the U.S. has “full power to pursue the Taliban’s financial and other activities,” the spokesperson said.

Still, the State Department designation is a special status.

“It really makes for a lot of confusion when you have a group that’s been as deadly as the Taliban, who provided sanctuary for al Qaeda to stage its 9/11 attacks, that it had never been added to the FTO list. ... That’s incredibly problematic,” said Jason Blazakis, who served as the director of the State Department’s Counterterrorism Finance and Designations Office from 2008 to 2018.

The inconsistency is largely for political reasons -- a long-running fear during the Bush, Obama and now Trump administrations that labeling the group a foreign terrorist organization would anger and alienate them, making it harder for U.S. diplomats to ultimately engage them in any political process.

To successive administrations, the “timing” was never right to make a designation.

But there are no legal restrictions on American officials talking to terrorist organizations or their leadership. In Colombia, for example, the U.S. and the allied government engaged with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia People's Army (FARC), even though they have been designated a terror group since 1997.

Some analysts say designating the Taliban a terrorist organization would have given U.S. negotiators something to concede in talks in exchange for Taliban promises.

“You could have removed the FTO tag as part of this process, as something you would ‘give’ the Taliban,” said Blazakis, now the director of the Middlebury Institute’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism. “Now it’s a missing potential incentive.”

Perhaps even more important, “terrorist” is a label that matters to the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

“The Taliban and terrorism -- it’s one DNA,” Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib said Wednesday in Washington, condemning it as “a group that murders civilians in cold blood, conducts terrorist activities across the country, and blows up schools and mosques.”

The Afghan government has been increasingly frustrated by U.S. talks with the Taliban for that reason -- the administration has excluded the Afghan government while dealing directly with this “terrorist” organization.

“It would be a shame if a deal was made with the terrorists who killed more than 5,400 Americans -- and if they were given control of the lives of the Afghan people. That would be a win for those terrorists,” Mohib said Tuesday.

Tensions between the U.S. and Afghan governments over the Taliban talks burst into public this week, but for now, the U.S. remains on track with its negotiations with the militant group.

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Diederik van Heyningen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- After 49 people were gunned down in terrorist attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, the prime minister is vowing to change gun laws.

At least one gunman carried out what is now the deadliest shooting in New Zealand history.

Forty-two others were injured, including two critically, in what became "one of New Zealand's darkest days," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Ardern said Saturday, "while the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers."

She vowed that “while work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now: Our gun laws will change.”

A gunman appeared to have livestreamed video of the shooting on social media, according to New Zealand police. He documented his trip from his car and into the worship center in central Christchurch, where he opened fire indiscriminately, police said.

Officials said they were working to remove "extremely distressing footage" taken at the scene and urged social media users not to share it.

Meanwhile, Sky Network Television -- New Zealand’s largest satellite television provider -- announced late Friday that it was removing Sky News Australia from its platform after the broadcaster apparently aired video of the attack.

We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and have made the decision to remove Sky News Australia from our platform until we are confident that the distressing footage from yesterday’s events will not be shared #KiaKahaChristchurch https://t.co/Srh5E9Oilm

— SKY New Zealand (@SKYNZ) March 15, 2019

“We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and have made the decision to remove Sky News Australia from our platform until we are confident that the distressing footage from yesterday’s events will not be shared,” Sky Network officials said in a tweet.

Three in custody

Three people are in custody, including one Australian citizen. One 28-year-old man was charged with murder and appeared in court Saturday, officials said.

Authorities also said that the murder suspect will be facing more charges.

“While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid," New Zealand police officials tweeted from the department's verified account.

"Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Five guns were used by the main suspect, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns, the prime minister said at a news conference Saturday. The suspect had a gun license, she added.
 Police have not said if the same gunman shot at both mosques.

“None of those apprehended had a criminal history either here or in Australia," and none were on any watch lists, Ardern said.

Late Friday night, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush told reporters that authorities are still "working through" the accounts of two additional people who were arrested as part of the investigation.

“As you know we apprehended four people ... one was released quite early, a member of the public who just wanted to get their kids home but decided to take a firearm," Bush said. "There was another couple arrested at a cordon and we are currently working through whether or not those persons had any involvement in that incident. So when we know, we’ll be able to give you… but I don’t want to say anything until we’re sure.”

 Bush said that local authorities responded "immediately" to the reports of gunfire, and that within 36 minutes of the first shot being fired, the primary suspect was taken into custody.

“That person was not willing to be arrested, I think you’ve probably seen some of that live video, there was live audio coming back to my command center in Wellington, of that apprehension and I can tell you as I was listening to that –- that person was non-compliant," Bush said.

"We also believe that there were IEDs in that vehicle so it was a very dangerous maneuver," he said, referring to improvised explosive devices. "There were also firearms in that vehicle, so our staff, who were well-equipped, did engage with that person, and again put themselves in real danger to keep the community safe.”

Bush vowed that local authorities "will be highly vigilant [and] highly present, to ensure that if there is anyone out here wanting to commit harm we can intervene.”

Earlier, Bush said that the island nation is “dedicating all available resources to our response, not only in Christchurch but right across the country.”

“This attack has been an enormous shock for all New Zealanders, and I am aware that there is a real sense of fear and concern for personal safety, particularly among our Muslim communities,” Bush said in a statement.

He said that there is a heightened police presence nationwide, particularly at mosques and community events, and urged residents to immediately report anything suspicious to local authorities.

Hospital overwhelmed

Four of the 49 people killed in the massacre died on the way to the hospital, said Greg Robertson, chief of surgery at Christchurch Hospital.

“It's unusual for surgeons in this part of the world to deal with gunshot wounds,” Robertson told reporters. “We've had experience overseas dealing with trauma. We also get experience in our own environment for a limited number of these events. But clearly we don't face the extreme load this incident put on us.”

The surgeon went on to tell reporters on Friday night that 36 patients remained hospitalized at the Christchurch facility – 11 of them in the intensive care unit. He said the severity of injuries range from soft tissue injuries to head trauma. A 4-year-old girl wounded in the attack had to be transferred to another hospital in critical condition.

'Shattered innocence'

Witnesses said the attack occurred just before 1:40 p.m. local time as the Sheikh gave a sermon in

"It's something that we never expected to have happen here," Christchurch MP Gerry Brownlee told "Good Morning America." "We're a relatively small population, and while we are ethnically quite diverse, we live very peaceable lives. And this, as many have seen, has shattered our innocence."

Brownlee, who said he lives a short distance from one of the shooting sites, said, "Almost everyone will know someone or have a connection with the families of someone who has been either killed or seriously wounded today."

Of the 49 people killed, New Zealand police said 41 victims died at the Deans Avenue Mosque, seven at the Linwood Avenue Mosque and one at a hospital.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel believes the city was targeted because “we are a safe city and a safe country.”

“He is not from here,” Dalziel said Saturday of the attacker. “He came here. He came here with hate in his heart and intention to kill in his mind. So he did not develop his hatred here. He came here to perform this act of terrorism."

"His was the voice of hate, and the only way that communities can respond to the voice of hate is to come together and love, compassion and kindness," she said.

'Abhorrent' attacks

Queen Elizabeth in a statement said she's "deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch."

"Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives. I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured," she said. "At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders."

Friday afternoon President Trump said he spoke with New Zealand's prime minister about the "monstrous terrorist attacks."

"These sacred places of worship were turned into scenes of evil killing," Trump said. "It's a horrible, horrible thing. I told the prime minister the United States is with them all the way, 10 percent, whatever they need, we will be there."

The president went on to call New Zealand a great friend and asserted that "our relationship has never been better."

President Trump had also tweeted condolences Friday morning.

"My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured," he tweeted. "The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!"

My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2019

Later in the day, he tweeted that he spoke to Ardern, reiterating that the U.S. is "ready to help."

U.S. Attorney General William Barr in a statement called the attack "a sobering reminder that the threat of political and religious violence is real and that we must remain vigilant against it."

"Violence on the basis of religion is evil," Barr said. "The Justice Department joins in mourning with the people of New Zealand.”

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement, "While we are not aware of any current, credible or active threat domestically, nor of any current information regarding obvious ties between the perpetrators in New Zealand and anyone in the US -- the Department is cognizant of the potential concerns members of Muslim-American communities may have as they gather at today’s congregational prayers."

"Attacks on peaceful people in their place of worship are abhorrent and will not be tolerated," Nielsen stressed. "The Department strongly stands with those of all faiths as they seek to worship in peace and we will continue to work with stakeholders to protect the ability of all to worship freely and without fear."

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Fiona Goodall/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- The terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left at least 49 people dead has sent shockwaves throughout the world.

"What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wrote on Twitter. "It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us." 

What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us.

— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) March 15, 2019


There are 46,149 Muslims in New Zealand out of 4.7 million people, making up less than 1 percent of the total population, according to the 2013 New Zealand census; a full-scale national census is due to be published in April 2019.

The city of Christchurch only has three mosques, and two of them were targeted on Friday.

The attack is all the more shocking given its occurrence in what many consider one of the most peaceful places in the world -- and one that prides itself on its openness and tolerance.

The deliberate attack of Muslims at Friday midday prayers, the holiest time of the week, is an example of a growing trend around the world of far-right, white supremacist extremism, as noted by the 2018 Global Terrorism Index produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace.

New Zealand has never experienced a terrorist attack before, according to ABC News senior foreign correspondent Ian Pannell.

There were 48 homicides nationwide in 2017, a number lower than the 58 recorded in 2016, according to the latest police figures.

 Unlike neighboring Australia, which has pursued a number of controversial immigration policies, New Zealand has encouraged migration from abroad.

New Zealand also voted in favor of the United Nations' Global Compact for Migration in December, the international pledge to "optimize the overall benefits of migration."

There was controversy in 2006, however, when two New Zealand newspapers re-published Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. After protests, the editors at the newspapers Dominion-Post and the Press apologized for the publication of the depictions of Muhammad, which are strictly forbidden in Islam, according to the Herald newspaper.

However, it is not just the people of New Zealand who have been shocked by the attack.

On the other side of the world, in nations including France, Britain and the U.S., security has been stepped up around mosques. World leaders, including the Pope and Elizabeth II, have expressed their condolences to the victims of the Christchurch attack.

The anti-radicalization group Hope Not Hate was also adamant that the "heartbreaking" attacks should be placed in a global context of the rise of the far-right.

"The bloody terrorist attack in Christchurch was carried out by a far-right activist who has published a manifesto explaining why he did it. It is full of praise for other anti-Muslim activists and ideas," Hope Not Hate chief executive Nick Lowles told ABC News. "In Oslo and Utøya, Charlottesville, Finsbury Park, Pittsburgh, and in so many places around the world, this violent ideology destroys lives and rips loved ones apart."

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@Bea_Aero/Twitter(NEW YORK) -- Analysis of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 began early Friday morning in Paris, the airline said, beginning a process that could provide new clues about what caused the crash that killed 157 people aboard the Boeing 737 MAX 8 Sunday, and resulted in a nearly world-wide grounding of the aircraft until its safety is confirmed.

Investigators are looking into the MAX 8's autopilot functions and the training of the pilots who flew the plane, as well as a mechanical part of the control system that alters the up-and-down movement of the nose, an aviation source told ABC News' Senior Transportation Correspondent David Kerley. The mechanism, called a "jackscrew," is a threaded rod in the tail section of the plan that affects the plane's stability.

A jackscrew malfunction was a factor in the cause of another fatal crash in 2000, when an Alaska Airlines plane nosedived into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Los Angeles.

The Ethiopian delegation led by the Chief investigator of Accident Investigation Bureau has arrived in the French Safety Investigation (BEA) facilities and the investigation process has started in Paris.

— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 15, 2019



Air traffic controllers said they noticed the Ethiopian Airlines flight pitching up and down hundreds of feet before it crashed, according to a New York Times report Thursday night. The captain called in a panicked voice to ask to return to the airport, but the plane disappeared off the radar just minutes later, the Times reported.

Public data from FlightRadar24 also showed the plane accelerated to high, abnormal speeds, though the reason was unclear.

The new details could help fill out a picture of the plane's final moments. Data from the "black boxes," devices that house the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, not only will provide further guidance for investigators but also seom first answers for the families of the victims. The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent U.S. agency that investigates transportation accidents and issues widely-respected safety recommendations, also sent three additional investigators to assist in the analysis.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 was involved in another deadly crash in Indonesia in October that killed 189 people.

Key questions surrounding apparent similarities in the two planes' trajectories, both of which oscillated up and down before crashing within minutes of take-off, have caused about 40 countries to ground the Boeing 737 MAX as a precautionary measure.

"Once they start reading out their recorders they'll know fairly quickly what this is ... is this a repeat of Lion Air or is this something different," Tom Haueter, a former NTSB investigator and ABC News contributor, told Kerley on "Good Morning America" Friday.

 A major question is whether the plane's autopilot system might have played a role in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, as it seemed to have done in the fatal crash of an Indonesian Lion Air 737 MAX 8. In that crash, it appears the pilots failed to disengage the autopilot when the plane's nose began pitching up and down, perhaps because they were unaware of how to do so. Some pilots have complained that the information to disengage autopilot was not readily available, and others have raised concerns about the adequacy of the training process.

"After the Lion Air tragedy, we learned that there was equipment on our aircraft that we were not aware of, it wasn't even in our book," said American Airlines pilot Dennis Tajer. Tajer, a spokesperson for a pilot's union --the Allied Pilots Association -- met with Boeing in the aftermath of the last crash.

At least 250 flights per day in the U.S. typically use Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, according to Flightradar24. The MAX fleets in the U.S. are operated by American Airlines, Southwest and United. Because of the grounding, it's estimated at least 43,000 passengers each day will have to be rerouted on different planes.

In an email to some customers early Friday morning, American Airlines apologized for the inconvenience, asked for passengers to be patient and said the airline would work "tirelessly to minimize the impact."

Boeing stopped delivery of the MAX jet but will continue to build them, with nearly 5,000 planes on order. Some airlines, such as Alaska Airlines, were set to receive the new 737 MAX 8 and 9 in June. Alaska Airlines indicated it expected to get it as planned, but said it was "too early to speculate on future deliveries."

 

 

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iStock/Poligrafistka(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- Facebook, Twitter, Google's YouTube and other social media platforms are scrambling to contain the spread of videos and other material related to shootings at two mosques that marked the deadliest attack in New Zealand history.

On Friday, at least 49 people were killed and dozens more injured by at least one gunman at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

According to authorities, a shooter appeared to livestream video of the attack on Facebook, documenting the attack on Facebook from the drive to the Al Noor Mosque from a first-person perspective, and it showed the shooter walking into the mosque from the car and opening fire.

The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs said in a statement that the video footage is "likely to be objectionable content under New Zealand law" and that "people who share the video of the shooting today in Christchurch are likely to be committing an offence."

"Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online," New Zealand Police said on Twitter shortly after the shooting. "We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed."

Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online. We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.

— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019

On YouTube, the video lingered for hours after the attack as different individuals republished it.

YouTube tweeted about the shooting video, "Our hearts are broken over today's terrible tragedy in New Zealand. Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage."

Our hearts are broken over today’s terrible tragedy in New Zealand. Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage.

— YouTube (@YouTube) March 15, 2019

Facebook also issued a statement saying it had taken down the suspected shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and removed the video he posted of the attack.

"Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by the horrendous shootings in New Zealand. Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video. We're also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware. We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues," Facebook New Zealand spokeswoman Mia Garlick wrote in a statement.

Portions of the video were also spreading by individuals on Twitter, which said it, too, was working to remove the content and had suspended the shooter's account.

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