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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is taking seriously a reported call for retaliation from Islamic State over the terror attack in Christchurch.
The spokesman for the jihadist group, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, broke a six-month silence to say last week's attack on two mosques which resulted in 50 deaths “should incite the supporters of the caliphate to avenge their religion”.
The release of a 44-minute recording to the New York Times came as US-backed Syrian forces said they were nearing victory over ISIS in its final bit of territory at Baghouz in eastern Syria.
"The scenes of the massacres in the two mosques should wake up those who were fooled, and should incite the supporters of the caliphate to avenge their religion," Abu Hassan al-Muhajir said in the recording.
There had also been a surge of rhetoric from extremists at both ends of the ideological divide on social media, all of which would be treated with due diligence, Ardern said..
“Our agencies across the board will (take it seriously). We don't have experience with terrorist acts and that is what this was,” Ardern said.
“There is guidance that our counterparts can give in the sense of the pattern of responses, retaliatory threats, copycats that do tend to follow situations like this. Our agencies are geared up for that.”
Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged over the attacks on Muslim worshippers attending Friday prayers.
Ardern said in all her dealings with the Christchurch Muslim community, there has been little animosity directed towards Tarrant or talk of retribution.
“Their response, overwhelmingly, has been that what they seek, of course, is justice for family members, and that will happen through our New Zealand system,” she said.
“But overwhelmingly, they keep reflecting back to me that sense of support they have felt from the New Zealand community, compassion, empathy,” she said.
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