Friends of a missing man Zakaria Bhuiyan hold up photos of him outside a refuge center in Christchurch, Sunday, March 17, 2019. The live-streamed attack by an immigrant-hating white nationalist killed dozens of people as they gathered for weekly prayers in Christchurch. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)

The Latest: Fund to help mosque shooting victims raises $3M

March 17, 2019 - 4:41 am

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — The Latest on shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand (all times local):

9:40 p.m.

A fund send up to help the families of victims killed in the mosque attacks along with those who suffered injuries has raised over 4.3 million New Zealand dollars ($3 million).

The page on the site givealittle was created by a council of victim support groups. The council said it had been overwhelmed with the number of donations, which were more than it thought possible, and it would need to create a formal process to distribute the money.

The group said all the money would go directly to victims and their families, and that some would need it for bills, while others might need it for support services.

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5:35 p.m.

Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman says three more Pakistanis have been identified among those killed in the attacks on two mosques in New Zealand. That brings the number of Pakistanis killed to nine.

Spokesman Mohammad Faisal? in his latest tweet Sunday said Zeeshan Raza, his father Ghulam Hussain and mother Karam Bibi are now confirmed to have killed in the terrorist attack in Christchurch.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Saturday that six Pakistanis were confirmed dead. They were identified as Sohail Shahid, Syed Jahandad Ali, Syed Areeb Ahmed, Mahboob Haroon, Naeem Rashid and his son Talha Naeem.

Rashid and Naeem gave their lives attempting to snatch the attacker's gun.

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5:25 p.m.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the bodies of the 50 people killed in Friday's mosque attacks will start being released to family members beginning Sunday evening.

Ardern says only a small number of bodies will be released initially, and that authorities hope to release all the bodies by Wednesday.

Islamic law calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 hours.

Anguished relatives have been anxiously waiting for authorities to release the remains.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush says they are working as quickly as they can, but authorities have to be absolutely clear on the causes of death and confirm identities before they can release bodies.

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5:05 p.m.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reiterated her promise that there will be changes to the country's gun laws in the wake of a terrorist attack on two mosques and said her Cabinet will discuss the policy details on Monday.

At a Sunday news conference, Arden used some of her strongest language yet about gun control, saying that laws need to change and "they will change."

New Zealand has fewer restrictions on rifles or shotguns than many countries, while handguns are more tightly controlled.

Unlike the U.S., the right to own a firearm is not enshrined in New Zealand's constitution.

Ardern declined to discuss more details until she'd talked to her Cabinet, the group of top lawmakers that guides policies.

Friday's mass shootings in Christchurch killed 50 people.

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10:05 a.m.

New Zealand police say they have found another body at one of the mosques that was attacked, raising the death toll in the shootings to 50.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush announced the latest death in a news conference Sunday. He says 36 victims remain hospitalized, with two of them in critical condition.

Bush also said that two people arrested around the time suspect Brenton Harrison Tarrant was apprehended are not believed to have been involved in the attacks on two mosques Friday.

He says one of those people has been released and the other has been charged with firearms offenses.

Tarrant is 28 and was arraigned Saturday on the first of many expected murder charges.

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