New Zealand: terror suspect shot dead after attack in Auckland

Sri Lankan immigrant on security watchlist injured six people in stabbing spree at supermarket

An ISIS-inspired terrorist stabbed six people at an Auckland supermarket on Friday before police who had him under surveillance shot him dead, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

The attacker was a Sri Lankan national who arrived in New Zealand in 2011 and had been on a terrorism watchlist since 2016, Ms Ardern said at a press briefing after the attack.

"He obviously was a supporter of ISIS ideology," she said.

The man, who was not identified, was being monitored around the clock, but had not done anything previously that would have allowed him to be kept in prison, Ms Ardern said.

"What happened today was despicable, it was hateful, it was wrong," she said.

Police following the man thought he had gone into the New Lynn supermarket to do some shopping but he pulled out what one witness described as a large knife and started stabbing people.

"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," Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told the briefing.

Mr Coster said the attacker was acting alone and the police were confident there was no further threat to the public.

The attack took place in the residential suburb of New Lynn at about 2.40pm. Videos posted online showed panicked shoppers running out of the supermarket and looking for cover. In one video, 10 shots can be heard being fired in rapid succession.

Of the six wounded people, three were in critical condition, one in serious condition and another in moderate condition, the St John ambulance service said.

The attack took place with Auckland under a strict lockdown as it battles an outbreak of the coronavirus. Most businesses are shut and people are generally allowed to leave their homes only to buy groceries, for medical needs, or to exercise.

There was a similar supermarket attack in Dunedin in May when a knife-wielding attacker wounded four people.

New Zealand's worst terror attack was the Christchurch mosques shootings in March 2019, when a white supremacist gunman murdered 51 Muslim worshippers and severely wounded another 40.

Updated: September 3rd 2021, 10:57 AM
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