New Zealand shooting suspect visited Pakistan and Turkey in recent years

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Pakistani traders burn pictures of Brenton Harrison Tarrant, one of the suspects in Christchurch mosques shooting during a demonstration to condemn mosque attack, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Saturday, March 16, 2019. Pakistan's foreign minister says nine Pakistanis were missing after the mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

Christchurch:  The Australian man facing murder charges in the terrorist shootings at two New Zealand mosques that left 50 dead was a frequent traveller who visited Pakistan, Turkey and Bulgaria, among other countries in recent years.

Tarrant had travelled to Turkey multiple times and “spent an extended period of time in the country,” CNN quoted a senior Turkish official on Saturday.

He also recently travelled to Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, Bulgarian prosecutor general Sotir Tsatsarov told journalists, according to state news agency BTA. In 2016, Tarrant visited Montenegro and Serbia, Tsatsarov said.

Armed police patrol a cemetery near Muslim graves in Christchurch, New Zealand, Monday, March 18, 2019. An immigrant-hating white nationalist is accused of killing dozens of people as they gathered for weekly prayers in Christchurch on March 15. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Tarrant is also believed to have spent time in northern Pakistan. Speaking to CNN on Saturday, the owner of the Osho Thang Hotel in Nagar, in Pakistan’s northernmost Gilgit-Baltistan region, said Tarrant had visited his hotel in October 2018.

The hotel owner, who did not want to be named for security reasons, described Tarrant as a “regular tourist.”

“All I remember was that he was a fan of local food. He would leave the hotel in the morning and would come back in the evening,” he said.

Shortly before the shooting began, an 87-page manifesto was posted on social media under the name of Brenton Tarrant. The document was riddled with sarcasm, apparent red herrings and allusions to online meme culture, suggesting an internet-driven evolution of nationalist hatred.

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