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New York marathon to continue with enhanced security

New York, Nov 2 (IANS) Authorities plan to provide added security measures for the New York City Marathon on Sunday following a deadly terrorist attack in lower Manhattan earlier this week that left eight dead, the media reported.

“The marathon will go on because New York goes on and it’s an important event for all New Yorkers,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a news conference Wednesday.

New York Police Chief Carlos Gomez said that the security measures would include an increased presence of sand trucks and other blocker vehicles meant to shield runners and onlookers from possible attacks, reports The Hill magazine.

The number of rooftop observation teams will also be doubled, while counter-sniper teams will be stationed throughout the city, he said.

Heavy weapons teams will also be stationed across the city, Gomez said, as well as K9 units and counter-terrorism officers. Helicopters will survey rooftops during the race.

More than 51,000 runners are expected to participate in the annual marathon, and another 2.5 million spectators will line the streets during the race, officials said. The marathon is set to take place days after Tuesday’s attack.

The New York Road Runners, the group that organises the annual race, said they “have extensive safety and security measures in place, both visible and behind the scenes”, and reserved the right to change their plans if necessary, The Hill magazine reported.

“We are monitoring the situation closely with our city, state, and federal agency partners, particularly the NYPD (New York Police Department)… For this weekend’s marathon, as with all of our events, the safety and security of our runners, staff, volunteers, and spectators is our top priority.”

Eight people were killed and 13 others were injured on Tuesday afternoon after a rented truck drove onto a bike path in Lower Manhattan.

The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, then exited the vehicle waving a pellet gun and a paintball gun before he was shot by police and taken into custody.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors filed terrorism charges against Saipov.

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