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Police say bomb find not linked to Christchurch attacks

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Armed police keep watch as people pay their respects in front of floral tributes for victims of the March 15 mosque attacks, in Christchurch on March 16, 2019. – A right-wing extremist who filmed himself rampaging through two mosques in the quiet New Zealand city of Christchurch killing 49 worshippers appeared in court on a murder charge on March 16. (Photo by DAVID MOIR / AFP)

New Zealand police on Wednesday ruled out any link between a bomb found in Christchurch and mosque shootings in March which killed 50 Muslim worshippers.

Police and the military bomb squad swooped on a vacant lot just outside the city centre Tuesday finding “a suspected explosive device” and rounds of ammunition.

They said a 33-year-old man appeared in court Wednesday charged with possession of explosives, ammunition and offensive weapons.

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“We are not seeking anyone else in relation to the incident,” detective inspector Corrie Parnell said in a statement.

“There are no known links between the 33-year-old man and the Christchurch attacks on March 15.”

Local media named the man as Jay Michael Harding-Reriti and said the charges included possession of a handheld improvised explosive device, powergel explosives and detonator cord.

They said he was remanded in custody until May 6 and further details of the case were suppressed at the request of police.

Christchurch remains on alert after the March attacks in which a self-styled white supremacist shot dead 50 people and injured another 39 in attacks on two mosques.

The gunman allegedly behind the mosque shootings, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, is in a maximum-security prison in Auckland has been ordered to undergo psychiatric tests.


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