The United States and United Nations offered sympathy Friday to the people of New Zealand, condemning terrorist attacks at two mosques that left at least 49 people dead.
A gunman opened fire on worshippers during Friday prayers at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, with one of the shooters livestreaming the incident on social media. The footage has since been removed from social media platforms.
A 28-year-old gunman will appear in court Saturday charged with murder, while two others remain in custody in connection to the attack, according to the New Zealand Police.
“My warmest sympathy and best wishes go 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!” President Donald Trump said on Twitter.
The White House issued a separate statement condemning the attack and calling it a “vicious act of hate”.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “is shocked and appalled at the terrorist attack,” his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
“The Secretary General recalls the sanctity of mosques and all places of worship. He calls upon all people on this holy day for Muslims to show signs of solidarity with the bereaved Islamic community,” Dujarric said. “The Secretary-General reiterates the urgency of working better together globally to counter Islamophobia and eliminate intolerance and violent extremism in all its forms.”
The UN Security Council further released a separate statement, reaffirming “that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.”
“The members of the Security Council underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice, and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of the New Zealand and all other relevant authorities in this regard,” the statement read.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the attack as well and said the American people’s thoughts and prayers are with New Zealand.
“We pledge our unwavering solidarity with the government and people of New Zealand in this hour of darkness,” Pompeo said at a news briefing Friday.
National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Twitter the U.S.’s “deepest condolences and prayers are with victims, family members and loved ones affected by the heinous act of terror against worshippers.”
One of the suspects, Australian-born Brenton Tarrant, released a 74-page manifesto prior to the shooting, in which he said he was a supporter of Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”.
The person that Tarrant said had inspired him to commit the shooting was Candace Owens, a conservative political commentator and pro-Trump activist who is the founder of the Blexit movement, which calls on African Americans to stop supporting the Democratic Party.
In the manifesto, Tarrant objected to immigration and said something needed to be done to respond to what he referred to as “white genocide”.