New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks Sunday about the Christchurch terror attack.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that the bodies of a small number of victims will be returned to families on Sunday evening, and all bodies will be returned to families by Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference in Wellington, Sunday, Arden confirmed that her cabinet would meet Monday to discuss government policy including changes to the country’s gun laws, issues around terror watch lists and how to ensure public safety.
Arden said that a memorial for the Christchurch victims would be held in Parliament on Tuesday.
New Zealand police have described efforts to identify the victims as “detailed and complex work” that must be “completed thoroughly.”
In a statement posted online, Sunday, police said officers were continuing to work “closely and extensively with partners to identify the injured and deceased victims of the Christchurch attack.”
The statement added that a range of activities must be completed before names can be released publicly, “this includes next of kin notifications, which, in many cases, will have international aspects to them.”
Police officials said they understand the religious duty of the Islamic faith to bury the deceased as soon as possible and are “working closely with the Chief Coroner to do everything possible to expedite the process.”
People stand across the road from one of the mosques attacked in central Christchurch on Friday.
Friday’s terror attack in New Zealand was one of the deadliest in the country’s history. At least 50 people were killed and another 50 wounded when a gunman, who police have identified as 28-year-old Australian citizen Brenton Harrison Tarrant, open-fired inside a pair of mosques in the city of Christchurch.
The terror attack in New Zealand Friday began at about 1:40 p.m, unleashing horrific scenes of violence that the gunman attempted to live-stream on social media.
CNN’s coverage of the initial aftermath of the shooting can be found here.
If you’re just joining us, here are some of the latest updates on Friday’s terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand.
- The number of people killed in the attack rose to 50 when another body was discovered at the Al Noor mosque, where most victims were killed. The number of people wounded also increased to 50. Twelve of them are in critical condition.
- A Syrian refugee and his sons, a Pakistani academic and a blossoming student are among the victims.
- Australian Brenton Harris Tarrant, 28, appears to be the only person still in custody that has been linked to the attack. He is charged with murder.
- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Saturday that her country’s “gun laws will change” following the mass shooting. Ardern said Tarrant had purchased guns legally in 2017.