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New Zealand mosque attacker connected to European white nationalist group

The attacker donated to the group last year

Carl Court/Getty Images

The man behind the attack on Muslim worshippers in New Zealand reportedly had ties to a white nationalist group in Austria.

Here's what we know

On March 15, 50 people were killed and 50 others wounded in an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday prayers. The gunman had expressed white supremacist views in his 74-page manifesto.

According to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the attacker donated nearly $1,700 in 2018 to Martin Sneller, the head of the European far-right group Generation Identity, also known as the Identitarian Movement.

In late 2018, the Christchurch attacker had visited Austria, as well as Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, although authorities have not revealed whether or not he associated with Sneller, Generation Identity, or any other extremist groups during that trip.

"Our position on this is very clear, no kind of extremism whatsoever — whether it's radical Islamists or right-wing extremist fanatics — has any place in our society," Kurz said.

Hansjoerg Bacher, a spokesman for the Austrian prosecutors involved in the incident, told the Associated Press that the size of the attacker's donation stood out compared to most other donations the group received. Authorities had already been looking into Sneller for reasons unrelated to the Christchurch attack.

Austrian police have raided Sneller's apartment and seized his devices.

What is the link to the attacker?

According to the Independent, Sneller has denied a link to the attacker, saying that he only "passively received" the donation.

"I'm not a member of a terrorist organisation. I have nothing to do with this man," he added.

Sneller is a known white nationalist who was barred from entering the United Kingdom in 2018. Authorities in the Austrian town of Graz also raided his home that year.

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