16:26 GMT +312 November 2019
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    A police officer stands guard in front of the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Sunday, March 17, 2019, where one of two mass shootings occurred

    Austria's Kurz Confirms Link Between Christchurch Shooter and Right-Wing Group

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    The Austrian Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism (BVT) has searched the apartment of Martin Sellner, the leader of Austria's right-wing Identitarian Movement, on suspicion of links to the shooter in the recent New Zealand attacks, the Austria Press Agency (APA) reported on 26 March.

    Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has affirmed that the man who killed 50 people in mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand had a financial link with the right-wing Identitarian Movement in Austria.

    "We can confirm that the identitarians in Austria provided financial support, as well as maintained contact with the New Zealand criminal", Kurz told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

    Vienna is looking into eradicating the Identitarian Movement, which claims it wants to preserve Europe's identity, Kurz said.

    The statement comes after a reported search conducted by the authorities. The reason for the search was an endowment worth 1,500 euros ($1,690) received by Sellner's movement last year, according to the Austria Press Agency. The name of the donor, which allegedly matched the name of the suspected New Zealand shooter, drew the attention of the Austrian authorities, who had been probing Sellner for possible financial crimes.

    READ MORE: New Zealand Ban on Christchurch Mosque Shooter's Manifesto Electrifies Twitter

    New Zealand was shaken by two mass shootings on 15 March at the al-Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch that left 50 people dead and another 50 injured. After the attacks, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the tragedy an act of terrorism, stressing that the country had faced its "darkest day".

    The attack suspect, 28-year-old Australian national Brenton Tarrant, was detained immediately afterwards and has been since charged with murder and put into custody.


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