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Western countries boost security in places of worship after New Zealand terror attack

COUNTRIES around the world are raising their security levels following a terror attack in New Zealand on Friday that killed almost 50 people.

Two gunmen opened fire in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, when Muslim worshippers were observing the usual Friday prayer.

Forty-one people were killed at the al Noor mosque, while seven people died at the Linwood mosque. One person died from gunshot injuries in hospital.

Three suspects have been arrested and one would be arraigned in court on Saturday. One of the attackers was said to have streamed the attack on social media.

In a condolence message, the Interior Minister of France, Christophe Castane said he had directed local officials to “strengthen surveillance” at places of worship as a precaution.

“As a precaution, I immediately called our prefects to the utmost vigilance and asked them to strengthen the surveillance of places of worship in our country. Patrols will be provided near denominational spaces,” he tweeted.

Earlier, the New Zealand police had assured that the situation has been brought under control and that there is an increased Police presence across Christchurch and surrounding areas.

“Our priority is to keep all New Zealanders safe. There are community events planned across the country this weekend and there will be a visible Police presence at these events for safety and reassurance,” the police statement read.

In the US, the Governor of the State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, and the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, both announced that police presence in the mosques around the city and state increased police presence at mosques around the city and state.

“While there is no specific or credible threat at this time, we are increasing our NYPD presence at mosques throughout the city out of an abundance of caution. New Yorkers heading to prayer can be confident that their city will protect them,” de Blasio posted on Twitter.

Medics helping an injured victim of the mosque attack in New Zealand into an ambulance. Photo credit: Google/Times Now

Similarly, Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, tweeted his condolences to the victims of the attack and assured that there would be increased security around mosques in the city on Friday.

“I want to reassure the Muslim communities in London. I have been in touch with the Met Police. There will be highly visible policing around mosques today, as well as armed response officers, as Londoners go to pray,” he said.

Some Muslim-majority countries such as Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan also condemned the terrorist attacks on New Zealand, describing it as an act of “rising racism and Islamophobia”.

“This reaffirms what we have always maintained: That terrorism does not have a religion,” tweeted Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan,

Mass shootings are a strange phenomenon in New Zealand. Policemen in the country are not routinely armed, and the murder rate in the country is very law.

In 2017, a total of 35 homicides was recorded in the state, less than the number of casualties in Friday’s terror attack.

Before now, the biggest mass killing in New Zealand’s history was in 1989 when a man named David Gray went on a shooting rampage, killing 13 people.

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