PARIS: France stepped up security measures near religious sites in the wake of fatal attacks against two mosques in New Zealand where 49 people died, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced on Friday.
“As a precaution (measure), I immediately called our prefects to (show) the utmost vigilance and asked them to strengthen the surveillance in worship places in our country,” Castaner said.
“Patrols will be held around religious sites,” he added on his Twitter account.
The minister’s decision came after what he described an “odious terrorist attacks” targeting two separate mosques full of prayers in central Christchurch during the afternoon praying time.
At least 49 people were killed and 48 others were wounded in the mass shootings in which at least two gunmen were involved. One of the shooter was identified as an Australian national, described as “an extremist” and violent-right wing activist according to Australian authorities.
“What happened in New Zealand must not happen in France. The French state must take its responsibilities towards the Muslim community and ensure the protection of all French citizens,” tweeted the Committee against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), a Muslim rights group.
France is home of about 5 million Muslims, Europe’s largest Islamic community.__The Nation