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New Zealand attack prompts increased NYPD patrols near mosques, key landmarks

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said there appears to be no connection between the New Zealand attacks and New York City.

In response to the New Zealand mosque attacks,

In response to the New Zealand mosque attacks, NYPD officers stand guard outside the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood on St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem on Friday. Photo Credit: Li Yakira Cohen

The NYPD increased patrols across the city on Friday following two attacks at mosques in New Zealand that killed 49 people and wounded dozens more.

Three people were taken into custody in the mass shooting, one of whom has been charged with murder, officials said. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the attacks – the deadliest in New Zealand’s history – as terrorism. 

Police Commissioner James O’Neill said the department is working with its state, federal and international partners and sought to reassure the city’s Muslim population.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of this senseless, cowardly terror attack in New Zealand. …To the Muslim community here in New York: We stand with you always, and we will remain vigilant in keeping you safe – and making sure you feel safe, too,” O’Neill said in a statement. “The people we serve, in every neighborhood, must always be free from fear and have the immutable right to worship and live in peace.”

The gunman broadcast footage of some of the killings online after posting a "manifesto" that denounced immigrants and praised President Donald Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose."

Trump denied any knowledge of a manifesto related to the killings but said he spoke with Ardern via telephone Friday and offered “any assistance” that the United States could provide.

O’Neill said that while there appears to be no connection between the New Zealand attacks and New York City, NYPD officials are in contact with Muslim community leaders.

“Together, New Yorkers will never allow terrorists – who thrive on violence and fear – to threaten our people or our values,” O’Neill added.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also condemned the shootings Friday, adding that "hate will not be tolerated" in the city.

"We truly embrace our Muslim community, and we will stand up against Islamophobia in all its forms," de Blasio said during an interview on WNYC's "The Brian Lehrer Show." "And I hope all over the Western, democratic world that leaders will do the exact same because anything less than a show of support for communities at this point, a very physical show of support, sends a horrible message."

The mayor later spoke to worshippers at the Islamic Cultural Center on Third Avenue in Manhattan.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the World Trade Center and other landmarks would be lit in blue and red Friday night in solidarity with the people of New Zealand.

"My heart breaks for the victims of the horrific attack in New Zealand. And we grieve with the rest of the world,” Cuomo said in a statement. “At a time of great division, we will stand up to hate in all its forms and do everything in our power to protect the safety and wellbeing of all New Yorkers.”

With Reuters

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