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Turkey opens inquiry into alleged visits by New Zealand mosque killer

AFP  |  Istanbul 

opened an inquiry after it emerged that the man alleged to be the mosque gunman made several visits to Turkey, an said.

A right-wing extremist armed with semi-automatic weapons rampaged through two mosques in the city of during afternoon prayers on Friday, killing 49 worshippers and wounding dozens more.

A visitor believed to be the 28-year-old Australian who has been arrested and charged with murder in "visited several times and stayed for a long period in the country," the Turkish said without giving dates.

"We think that the suspect could have been to other countries (from Turkey) in Europe, and We are investigating the suspect's movements and contacts in the countries," added the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Turkish media reported that a manifesto published online allegedly by the gunman contained specific references to and ridding the famed in of its minarets. Now a museum, the building was once a church before being turned into a mosque during the Ottoman empire.

earlier said it too was investigating after discovering that the gunman might have visited in November 2018.

A man believed to be him spent a week in the country supposedly to "visit historical sites and study the history of the Balkan country," Bulgaria's said.

He said the inquiry would establish if this was "correct or if he had other objectives".

The same man also made a short visit to the in December 2016, travelling by bus across Serbia, Croatia, and

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 16 2019. 02:40 IST