A violent extremist who stabbed and wounded at least six people in a terror attack on an Auckland supermarket has been shot dead by police.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the attack was ‘ISIS inspired’ and motivated by ‘violent ideology’.
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What happened in Auckland?
Shoppers in Auckland were left screaming in terror and running for their lives after a man carried out a terror attack in the Countdown supermarket at LynnMall in New Lynn.
He entered the store, grabbed a knife from a shelf and began stabbing multiple people, leaving at least six wounded.
Three people are now said to be in a critical condition in hospital, with one in a serious condition and the remaining two in ‘moderate’ conditions.
The man, who cannot be identified due to suppression orders, is said to have been inspired by the Islamic State terrorist group.
PM Ardern said police officers shot and killed the man within 60 seconds of the attack.
One witness told news outlet Stuff NZ that the supermarket had been a scene of hysteria with people “running out, hysterically, just screaming”, and people lying on the ground wounded.
Countdown’s general manager of safety Kiri Hannifin said she was “devastated” by what happened in the store, adding that it will be closed to the public “until further notice”.
What is known about the attacker?
Speaking in a press conference on Friday (3 September), PM Adren said the man, referred to as ‘S’, had arrived in New Zealand in October 2011 and was a Sri Lankan national.
He became a person of national security interest in 2016 and has been under constant monitoring and heavy surveillance due to concerns about his ideology.
The man had previously been arrested for allegedly planning a “lone wolf” knife attack, according to the New Zealand Herald, and had reportedly only recently been released from prison.
He is reported to be 32-years-old and had been considered a possible threat to public safety after twice buying large hunting knives, and being found to possess Islamic State videos.
Questioned why action was not taken against him before people were injured, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster explained: “We were doing absolutely everything possible to monitor him and indeed the fact that we were able to intervene so quickly, in roughly 60 seconds, shows just how closely we were watching him.
“The reality is, that when you are surveilling someone on a 24/7 basis, it is not possible to be immediately next to them at all times.
“The staff intervened as quickly as they could and they prevented further injury in what was a terrifying situation.”
What did PM Ardern say?
PM Ardern said in a press conference that the ‘ISIS inspired’ attack was “hateful” and “wrong”, and referred to the man as a “lone wolf”.
She said: "A violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent New Zealanders. He obviously was a supporter of ISIS ideology.
"What happened today was despicable.
“It was hateful, it was wrong. It was carried out by an individual, not a faith.”
She added that any backlash against the Muslim community "would be wrong", and said it is the attacker "is who is responsible, no one else".
The security threat in the country will remain at a medium level.
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