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Kingdom slams New Zealand’s ‘heinous’ attack as Jordanian death toll reaches 4

King expresses condolences to bereaved families in phone call with governor general

By JT - Mar 16,2019 - Last updated at Mar 16,2019

People react as they move the flowers after police removed a police line, outside Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Saturday (Reuters photo)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Saturday, in a phone call with New Zealand Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, expressed condolences to the bereaved families of victims of the “heinous terrorist crime” against peaceful worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayer, as the death toll from Jordanian citizens in the incident rose to four.

His Majesty also sent a cable to Reddy, condemning the terrorist attack and stressing that Jordan stands firm in the face of extremism and terrorism, which knows no religion, a Royal Court statement said on Saturday.

Two Jordanians were killed and seven others were injured on Friday in New Zealand when an extremist armed with semi-automatic weapons rampaged through two mosques in the quiet New Zealand city of Christchurch during afternoon prayers, killing at least 49 people and injured 42.

Two of the injured Jordanians succumbed to their wounds on Saturday, while five others are still receiving treatment, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The King expressed condolences to the bereaved families, wishing the injured a speedy recovery, according to the Royal Court.

Social media was flooded over the weekend with sympathies and prayers sent out to the victims of the attack and their families, as well as anger over the “heinous” massacre (read story on page 3).

A walk of solidarity was organised in Amman’s Al Mugabalein, and a fundraising page for one of the injured, who is undergoing treatment was setup, raising almost $15,000.

In a Tweet on Friday, the King said that “the heinous massacre against Muslims praying in peace in New Zealand is an appalling terrorist crime. It unites us against extremism, hatred and terrorism, which knows no religion”.

Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat also voiced Jordan’s rejection of terrorism and assaulting those living in peace and places of worship.

“Such heinous terrorist acts require intensified international efforts to counter terrorism in all its forms and manifestations at the intellectual and security levels,” the minister said.

As part of its follow up on the incident, the Foreign Ministry has formed a team to contact the families of the deceased and wounded, Sufian Qudah, the ministry’s spokesperson, was quoted as saying in the statement. 

The team, headed by an ambassador from the Foreign Ministry, is commissioned with collecting information about the attack’s victims, contacting their families and facilitating their travel procedures to New Zealand, Qudah said. 

The team is also tasked with transferring the victims’ bodies to the Kingdom, Qudah added.

The ministry urged the families of the deceased and the wounded to visit the ministry’s operations centre or directly contact it at 00962795497777.

Meanwhile, the Lower House also slammed the terrorist crime, stressing the importance of supporting His Majesty’s efforts exerted towards the Aqaba meetings. 

The Aqaba meetings are a series of international meetings launched by King Abdullah in 2015 to bolster security and military cooperation, coordination and exchange of expertise among regional and international partners to counter terrorism within a holistic approach.  

Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with the murder on Saturday, according to Reuters (read separate story).

The majority of victims were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia and Afghanistan. Muslims account for just over 1 per cent of New Zealand’s population.

Friday’s attack was the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand and the country had raised its security threat level to the highest, the news agency reported.

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