Auckland police shoot dead known ‘violent extremist’ in terror attack
Sydney, Australia, Sep 3 (EFE).- New Zealand police shot dead a known “violent extremist” under close monitoring after he stabbed six people in a terror attack at a west Auckland mall on Friday, the country’s prime minister said.
“This afternoon at approximately 2.40 pm a violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent New Zealanders in the New Lynn Countdown (supermarket) in Auckland,” Jacinda Ardern said in a press conference.
Six people were injured, three critically, in the attack that Ardern said was carried out by an individual who “obviously was a supporter of ISIS ideology.”
The suspect was a Sri Lankan national who had arrived in New Zealand in 2011 and became a national security interest 2016, reasons for which are subject to suppression orders.
A known threat and under constant surveillance, the suspect was shot and killed in the supermarket by police within “roughly 60 seconds of the attack starting,” Ardern said.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said operations teams were “as close as they possibly could be (to the suspect) without compromising the surveillance” and that he was shot when he approached police with a knife from the store.
The man was being closely watched “as a consequence of concerns about his ideology,” and acted alone, Coster said.
Ardern assured that authorities had utilized “every legal and surveillance power to us to try and keep people safe from this individual” and that if he had committed a “criminal act that would’ve allowed him to be in prison, that’s where he would’ve been.”
“Unfortunately, he didn’t. That is why, instead, he was being monitored constantly and followed.”
The prime minister made a point to remind the public the attack “was carried out by an individual. Not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity, but an individual person who was gripped by ideology that is not supported here.”
There will be no change to New Zealand’s terror alert level.
In March 2019, Australian Brenton Tarrant carried out a far-right terror attack against two mosques in the city of Christchurch, which left 51 people dead.
He was sentenced in August 2020 to life imprisonment without parole on 51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one of terrorism. EFE