Police escort men from a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

B.C. police step up patrols at mosques after New Zealand shooting massacre

A total of 49 people were killed after attacks at two mosques in Christchurch

B.C. Mounties are working with mosques across the province to ensure safety following the mass shooting targeting Muslim worshippers in New Zealand.

Canada remains under a low threat level, but police in many cities across the country were stepping up patrols around places of worship on Friday and communicating with local Muslim communities about their security concerns.

READ MORE: Quebec City Muslim worshippers condemn fatal New Zealand mosque attacks

“Although some B.C. mosques may have an increased front line policing presence following this event, we are not aware of any specific threats and continue to exercise increased vigilance,” the BC RCMP said in a statement on Twitter.

Over the border, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was one of the first in the U.S. to announce an increase of patrols by the New York Police Department.

“New Yorkers heading to prayer can be confident that their city will protect them,” he tweeted.

Politicians and representatives of Islamic associations have denounced the shooting, which appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack at two mosques, the deadliest one occurring at Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch where 41 people were killed.

A video that was apparently livestreamed by the shooter shows the attack in horrifying detail. The gunman spends more than two minutes inside the mosque spraying terrified worshippers with bullets again and again, sometimes re-firing at people he has already cut down.

READ MORE: Surrey RCMP increases patrols around mosques

During a second shooting at the Linwood mosque about five kilometres away, seven people were killed.

One more person died later at Christchurch Hospital.

Mass shootings in New Zealand are rare. Before Friday’s attack, the deadliest shooting in modern history occurred in the small town of Aramoana in 1990, when David Gray shot and killed 13 people following a dispute with a neighbour.

– With files from The Associated Press


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