NYPD Steps Up Security in Response to Kenya Attack

Police said there are no specific threats to the city

Monday, Sep 23, 2013  |  Updated 9:13 AM EDT
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NYPD Steps Up Security in Response to Kenya Attack

The NYPD has heightened security at key locations around the city in response to the ongoing attack on a mall in Kenya that killed dozens, though officials say there are no specific threats to the city.

Counterterror units have been deployed throughout the city and extra officers were on the streets Sunday, especially in heavily trafficked areas like Times Square and Penn Station.

"We keep track of events across the globe as they unfold and we adjust our counter terrorism efforts accordingly," NYPD spokesman John McCarthy said in a statement. "We have redeployed our critical response and Hercules teams as a precaution. There is no specific threat."

Gunmen with heavy artillery stormed a crowded shopping mall frequented by Westerners in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi Saturday, killing at least 68 people, wounding 175 and taking hostages.

The mall remained under siege Sunday and gunfire could still be heard from the scene, according to NBC News. The U.S. State Department said four American citizens were among the injured.

The Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened additional strikes, saying it was in retaliation "for the lives of innocent Muslims" killed by Kenyan forces leading an African Union offensive in Somalia.

In nearby Jersey City, local Kenyans attending a church service said Sunday that their thoughts and prayers were with those still held hostage in the mall.

"We will pray for them and ask for patience," said Rev. Haron Orutwa during his sermon at Tumaini Kristo Lutheran Church.

--Jonathan Vigliotti contributed reporting

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