Bullet-riddled NZ mosque to reopen for Friday prayers

Christchurch: The bullet-riddled Al Noor mosque in Christchurch was being repaired, painted and cleaned ahead of Friday prayers, as grieving families buried more victims of New Zealand's worst mass shooting.

The Al Noor Masjid in Christchurch, New Zealand.Credit:AP

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that Friday's call to prayers for Muslims will be broadcast nationally and there will be a two minute silence.

Armed police have been guarding mosques around New Zealand after 50 people were killed last Friday by a lone gunman who attacked worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch.

"We will have a heightened presence tomorrow in order to provide reassurance to people attending the Friday call for prayers," police said in a statement on Thursday.

"Police have been working relentlessly, doing everything in our power to gather all appropriate evidence from what are active crime scenes so we can allow people to return to the mosques as quickly as possible."

Police gaurd the road near the Al Noor Mosque on Wednesday.Credit:Jason South

Both mosques attacked, the Al Noor and nearby Linwood mosque, plan to be reopened. Thousands of worshippers are expected at the Al Noor mosque, where the majority of victims died.

Most victims were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

An Australian suspected white supremacist living in Dunedin, on New Zealand's South Island, has been charged with murder following the attack.

He was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5, when police said he was likely to face more charges.

Students light candles as they gather for a vigil to commemorate victims of Friday’s shooting.Credit:AP

Many have had to undergo multiple surgeries due to complicated gunshot wounds. The gunman used semi-automatic AR-15 rifles, with large magazines, and shotguns.

Ardern has vowed to change gun laws in the wake of the attack, possibly banning semi-automatic weapons. An announcement will be made before the next cabinet meeting on Monday.

The gunman broadcast his attack live on Facebook and it was quickly distributed to other platforms, prompting Ardern and others to rebuke technology companies and call for greater efforts to stop violence and extremist views being aired on social media.

Reuters

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