Stabbing in New Zealand supermarket was ISIS-inspired terrorist attack – prime minister
A stabbing attack in an Auckland supermarket in which multiple people were injured was an act of terrorism, New Zealand’s prime minister says. The suspect was shot dead by police.
“This afternoon, at approximately 2:40pm, a violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent New Zealanders in the New Lynn Countdown [supermarket] in Auckland,” Ardern said at a press conference.
The suspect was a known threat to authorities and under constant monitoring, she added.
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Ardern said the terrorist was a Sri Lankan national who arrived in the country in 2011 and became a person of national security interest from 2016. She described the attacker as an ISIS-inspired “lone wolf.”
The PM confirmed that the terrorist injured six people, three of them seriously, on a stabbing rampage inside a supermarket in New Lynn, a suburb of Auckland. The terrorist was shot and killed roughly 60 seconds later by the same police unit that was tasked with monitoring him, Ardern said.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the terrorist had traveled to the supermarket from Glen Eden, another Auckland suburb, as he had done in the past – all while being “closely watched” by a surveillance team and a tactical team. He entered the store and obtained a knife there.
“When the commotion started, two police tactical operators moved to his location and engaged him. When he approached them with a knife, he was shot and killed,” Coster explained. He said police intervened as quickly as they could, preventing further injuries to shoppers.
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.
Addressing potential questions about the monitoring of the terrorist, the prime minister said the government “utilized every legal and surveillance power available to us to try and keep people safe from this individual.”
The attacker’s name has not been released to the public yet, though Ardern said additional information on his identity would be shared as soon as possible.
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