Christchurch attack: NZ begins to bury victims

Christchurch, March 20 (IANS) The first burials took place on Wednesday for some of the victims of last week’s Christchurch terror attack in New Zealand.

According to state media, the first funerals of Syrian refugees Khaled Mustafa, 44, and his son Hamza Mustafa, 16, who died at the Al Noor mosque, took place at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Linwood, Efe news reported.

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The funerals coincided with Ardern’s visit to Christchurch, where she met family members of the victims and community groups.

Ardern announced at a news conference that on Friday, a week since the attacks, two minutes’ silence would be held for the victims.

“I know from many there is a desire to show support to the Muslim community as they return to mosques, particularly on Friday. There is also a desire from New Zealanders to mark the week that has passed since the terror attack,” she said.
Ardern said 30 victims’ bodies had been approved for release to their families.

Twelve of them have already been handed over to their relatives to carry out traditional rites and burials.

Fifty people were killed and dozens injured when 28-year-old Australian national Brenton Tarrant opened fire in two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch on March 15.