UK and France step up security near religious sites after New Zealand attacks

The terror attacks in two mosques left 49 people dead

French, British authorities have stepped up security measures near religious sites after deadly attacks against two mosques in New Zealand left 49 people dead.

Neil Basu, the UK’s national policing lead for counter terrorism, said officers “will be stepping up reassurance patrols around mosques and increasing engagement with communities of all faith, giving advice on how people and places can protect themselves”.

He added: “We are monitoring events in New Zealand closely and send our condolences to all those affected.

“We stand together with all our communities and partners here in the UK and overseas, and will continue to work with them to counter the threat no matter where it comes from.

“Together with our intelligence partners we continually monitor the varied threats we face, including to and around places of worship and specific communities across the country, to ensure we have the most appropriate protective security measures in place to keep people safe.”

West Midlands Assistant Chief Constable Matt Ward said officers will be engaging with key religious buildings to reassure local people. He added: “We will continue to work closely together and unite against those who seek, through violence and extremism, to intimidate or cause fear.

“For us the focus now is the protection of those we serve in the West Midlands. As we are all very aware we face a sustained and determined threat to our security.”

The Muslim Council of Britain had called on the Government to redouble efforts to ensure mosques are protected

In a tweet, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said, “Patrols will be held around religious sites.”

A gunman broadcast live footage on Facebook of the attack on one mosque in the city of Christchurch, mirroring the carnage played out in video games, after publishing a “manifesto” in which he denounced immigrants.

France is home to the largest Muslim minority population in Western Europe and suffered deadly Islamist militant attacks in 2015 and 2016. – PA