The attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, by a gunman believed to be 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant has left as many 49 dead. In a 73-page, 16,500-word manifesto that he uploaded on social media, Tarrant detailed his background, as well as his reasons for carrying out the shooting, including taking the name of a young victim of the 2017 Stockholm truck attack.
Tarrant wrote the attack was to "take revenge for Ebba Åkerlund". "There was a period of time two years prior to the attack that dramatically changed my views. The period of time was from April 2017 to May 2017. The first event that begun the change was the terror attack in Stockholm on 7 April, 2017. I could no longer turn my back on the violence. Something this time was different. That difference was Ebba Akerlund... Ebba was walking to meet her mother after school when she was murdered by an Islamic attacker," he wrote.
Ebba was the 11-year-old girl who was one of the five people killed when 39-year-old Uzbek asylum seeker and ISIS fanatic Rakhmat Akilov hijacked a lorry and deliberately drove it into crowds along Drottninggatan before crashing it into a Åhléns department store on April 7, 2017.
According to The Unz Review, Ebba was walking home from school when she went missing amongst the panic which ensued when Akilov drove the lorry through what is one of the Swedish capital's busiest shopping districts. Her family said she knew the route well and would usually take the bus from school to central Stockholm before then switching to the subway and continuing back home on foot.
They had subsequently launched a desperate social media campaign in the hope that someone would find their daughter, sharing her picture across various platforms. However, they were told a day later by the police that the 11-year-old was one of the five people who had died in the attack.
In a statement released after the news of her death was confirmed, her family said, "With all our heart we thank the Swedish people for all the warmth and love you have given us in a time of despair and pain. We now need peace and quiet to process our grief and ask for your understanding that we need to do it in peace."
Her school held a minute's silence to pay tribute to their fallen classmate. Speaking about her death, school governor Maija Moller Grimakova said, "It was pretty quiet. There were many tears, much grief. I have over 500 students at the school but I remember Ebba really well. There is something special about her, there's so much life in her, and then suddenly she was not here. It's incredibly sad."
Akilov was reportedly being sought by deportation officers at the time he carried out the attack, and told officers he had plotted the rampage as revenge for the "bombing in Syria." He also said he was a supporter of ISIS and that he backed extremist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir.
He was later sentenced to life in prison and was informed after he completed the sentence — in Sweden, a life sentence constitutes 16 years behind bars — he would be deported from the country and banned from returning.
Tarrant, who is believed to be one of the gunmen who carried out the shooting at the mosques in Christchurch, also mentioned in his wordy manifesto why he picked New Zealand for the attack. He said: "An attack in New Zealand would bring to attention the truth of the assault on our civilization, that no where (sic) in the world was safe, the invaders were in all of our lands, even in the remotest areas of the world and that tehre was no where (sic) left to go that was safe and free from mass immigration."