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New Zealand’s PM sorry after report slams country’s ‘almost’ exclusive focus on Islamist terrorism before Christchurch massacre

New Zealand’s PM sorry after report slams country’s ‘almost’ exclusive focus on Islamist terrorism before Christchurch massacre
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has apologized after a report criticized New Zealand’s security forces for having “almost exclusively” focused on Islamist terrorism before a white supremacist attack on Christchurch mosques in 2019.

The 800-page paper, released on December 8, says New Zealand’s security forces of diverting an “inappropriate concentration of resources” and “almost exclusively” focusing on the threat of Islamist extremist terrorism, and of failing to properly address concerns about white supremacy.

Despite the shortcomings laid out in the report, the Royal Commission of Inquiry found no failings within government agencies that would have prevented the attack that saw 51 people killed at the two mosques on March 15, 2019.

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However, it did find that police failed to enforce proper checks when providing a firearms license to 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant. He subsequently released a racist manifesto online before live streaming the shootings on Facebook, the deadliest in the nation’s history.

Addressing the commission’s findings, Ardern said “The commission made no findings that these issues would have stopped the attack. But these were both failings and for that I apologize.”

The Royal Commission made 44 recommendations in the report, all of which were accepted by the New Zealand government, with Ardern’s administration agreeing to create a new national intelligence and security agency and appoint a minister to coordinate the government’s response.

Prior to the attacks, New Zealand’s director general of security, Rebecca Kitteridge, spoke before the Intelligence and Security Committee to discuss the risks facing the country.

While the national terrorism threat level in New Zealand is "low", the country has concerns about the risk posed by IS (Islamic State, formerly ISS) and Al Qaeda, particularly with citizens who’ve travelled to conflict zones to fight alongside these terrorist organizations. 

The report comes after Europe has been shaken by recent Islamist terrorist attacks, including in France and Austria in October and November, respectively.

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