By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – London Metropolitan Police stepped up security around mosques in the British capital Friday following deadly terror attacks on mosques in New Zealand that killed 49 people.
A large police presence and tight security were in place in and around mosques in London before traditional Friday prayers.
Earlier, at least 49 people were confirmed killed when gunmen targeted two mosques in Christchurch, according to Mike Bush, New Zealand police commissioner.
Four people, including a woman, were arrested following the shootings.
– Tightened security
A group of police officers provided security in front of the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London until after Muslim worshippers left the mosque as well as other mosques, including the East London Mosque and Muslim Centre.
Pedestrians near Finsbury Mosque had been targeted in a June 2017 Islamophobic attack which killed one person and left nine injured.
The tightened security came after London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that police in London will be on high alert today.
Khan described the New Zealand attacks as “heartbreaking,” adding: "Innocent people have been murdered because of their faith."
“London stands with the people of Christchurch in the face of this horrific terror attack,” Khan said.
The East London Mosque saw a solidarity gathering following the Friday prayers.
Khan attended the gathering, along with London Bishop Sarah Mullally, MP Rushanara Ali, Tower Hamlets Mayor Rushanara Ali, Muslim Council of Britain Secretary General Harun Khan, and Rev. Alan Green, chair of the Tower Hamlet Interfaith Forum.
A vigil will be held in front of Finsbury Park metro station Friday evening to commemorate the victims of the Christchurch attack.