May 24, 2019
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New York bolsters security at mosques in wake of deadly New Zealand attacks

 The governor of New York state, Andrew Cuomo, gives a speech after taking the oath of office during an inauguration ceremony on Ellis Island in New York, New York, USA, Jan. 1, 2019. Cuomo won a third term in a re-election in 2018. EPA-EFE/JAMES KEVIOM

The governor of New York state, Andrew Cuomo, gives a speech after taking the oath of office during an inauguration ceremony on Ellis Island in New York, New York, USA, Jan. 1, 2019. Cuomo won a third term in a re-election in 2018. EPA-EFE/JAMES KEVIOM

New York, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- New York City and the state of New York have bolstered security in the vicinity of mosques and other places of worship following Friday's attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left at least 49 dead.

The state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, said in a statement that he has ordered an increase in state police patrols near houses of worship, while police in New York City were visiting mosques during morning prayer on Friday.

At least 49 people were killed and 40 were wounded in coordinated shooting attacks that targeted the Masjid al-Noor mosque in central Christchurch and the Linwood mosque in the suburb of Linwood. Among the wounded, a score are reportedly in serious condition.

The alleged mastermind and one of the suspected perpetrators of the attacks is a 28-year-old Australian white supremacist identified as Brenton Tarrant, who posted an extremist manifesto to social media and also live-streamed the shooting on Facebook, according to New Zealand's authorities.

Tarrant has been arrested and charged with murder for his alleged role in what New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has described as a terrorist attack. Three others also have been arrested, New Zealand police said.

"In the wake of this disgusting act of bigoted violence, which appears to be rooted in Islamophobia, New York stands with the Muslim community as we always have and always will," Cuomo said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said for his part on Twitter that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) was stepping up its presence at mosques throughout the metropolis.

"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 said.

New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill also posted similar comments on his Twitter account.

"The NYPD sees no New York City connection to the tragedy in New Zealand at this time, but we nevertheless stand prepared to protect the people in all of our communities," O'Neill said. "We are connecting with area mosques and Muslim community leaders, and increasing patrols and high-visibility counterterrorism presence at locations around the city."

Friday's attacks in Christchurch, a city of 375,000 inhabitants that is the largest on New Zealand's South Island, were carried out during afternoon prayers.

A total of 41 people were killed at the Masjid al-Noor mosque and seven others perished at the nearby mosque in Linwood. One other individual died while being treated at a hospital.

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