With an Australia-born man emerging as the prime suspect in one of the two terror attacks in New Zealand, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said he cannot understand how anyone who would engage in such hate and violence can be called a "human".
At least 49 worshippers were killed in attacks on the Al Noor Mosque in central Christchurch and the Linwood Mosque in the city's outer suburb, in what appeared to be the worst attack against Muslims in a western country.
Witnesses said victims being shot at close range, with women and children believed to be among those killed.
The gunman at one mosque was an Australian-born citizen, Morrison said in Sydney, describing him as "an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist".
Morrison said an investigation has been launched into the Australian man's involvement in the attack.
"We are outraged and we stand here and condemn absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing violent terrorist who has taken the lives, stolen lives, in a vicious, murderous attack that has claimed so many New Zealanders," Morrison said from Kirribilli House.
Morrison said he had no information to suggest any Australians had been killed but noted it was "very early on" and the situation was unfolding.
Media reports identified Brenton Tarrant, an Australia-born man, as one of the suspects.
"These people don't deserve names," Morrison later said.
"Names imply some sort of humanity and I struggle to see how anyone who would engage in this sort of hate and violence is human. He doesn't deserve a name."
The Prime Minister said the suspect was not known to Australian authorities.
"It is the work of hate," the Prime Minister said.
"That sort of hateful thinking has just reaped murder and misery on a peaceful people just going about their practice of faith on a Friday. It's disgusting."
Morrison met senior national security officials, and while noting authorities had "already put in place all the necessary responses and precautions" he did not go into details.
"This attack reminds us of the evil that is ever-present and would seek to strike out at any time and I particularly want to convey my heartfelt sympathies not only to all New Zealand people, but particularly my sincere prayers and thoughts for those New Zealanders and indeed Australians of Islamic faith who have been the subject of this callous right-wing extremist attack," he said.
"It is with deep sorrow that we learn today of the terrorist attack committed against innocent worshippers at a Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand," Jneid said.
"We extend our prayers and thoughts to the victims and survivors, their families and the people of New Zealand during this terrible time," he said.
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