March 15, 2019 / 7:31 PM / in 2 months

U.S. ready to help New Zealand after mosque shootings, Trump tells prime minister

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he told New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a phone call on Friday that the United States is prepared to give any assistance following the killing of 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand.

“I informed the Prime Minister that we stand in solidarity with New Zealand - and that any assistance the U.S.A. can give, we stand by ready to help,” Trump said on Twitter.

In remarks to reporters at the White House, Trump added: “Earlier today I spoke with Prime Minister Ardern of New Zealand to express the sorrow of our entire nation following the terrorist attacks at two mosques. These sacred places of worship were turned into scenes of evil killing.”

The gunman in New Zealand killed 49 people and 42 people were being treated for injuries, police said. Some of the victims were kneeling in prayer, and the gunman broadcast footage of some of the killings online.

Ardern described the incident, the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history, as an assault on the country’s values.

(The story was refiled to insert the dropped word ‘as’ in paragraph 5)

Reporting by Makini Brice and Jeff Mason, Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Grant McCool

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