FILE PHOTO: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern participates in a televised debate with Nationwide chief Judith Collins at TVNZ in Auckland, New Zealand, September 22, 2020. Fiona Goodall/Pool by way of REUTERS
September 3, 2021
By Praveen Menon
WELLINGTON (Reuters) -New Zealand police on Friday shot and killed a “violent extremist” identified to the police, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mentioned, after he stabbed and wounded not less than six individuals in a grocery store.
The attacker, a Sri Lankan nationwide who had been in New Zealand for 10 years, was impressed by the Islamic State militant group and was being “monitored continually”, Ardern mentioned.
“A violent extremist undertook a terrorist assault on harmless New Zealanders,” Ardern instructed a briefing.
“He clearly was a supporter of ISIS ideology,” she mentioned, referring to Islamic State.
The attacker, who was not recognized, had been a “particular person of curiosity” for about 5 years, Ardern mentioned, including that he had been killed inside 60 seconds of starting his assault within the metropolis of Auckland.
Police following the person thought he had gone into the New Lynn grocery store to do some buying however he pulled out what one witness described as a big knife and began stabbing individuals.
“We had been doing completely every part doable to watch him and certainly the truth that we had been capable of intervene so shortly, in roughly 60 seconds, reveals simply how intently we had been watching him,” Police Commissioner Andrew Coster instructed the briefing.
Coster mentioned the attacker was performing alone and the police had been assured there was no additional risk to the general public.
New Zealand has been on alert for assaults since a white supremacist gunman killed 51 individuals at two mosques within the metropolis of Christchurch on March 15, 2019.
Ardern, requested if the Friday assault might have been revenge for the 2019 mosque shootings, mentioned it was not clear. The person alone who was answerable for the violence, not a religion, she mentioned.
“It was hateful, it was unsuitable. It was carried out by a person, not a religion,” Ardern mentioned. “He alone carries the duty for these acts.”
‘SOMEBODY GOT STABBED’
A video posted on social media confirmed customers within the grocery store seconds after the attacker struck.
“There’s somebody right here with a knife … he’s obtained a knife,” a girl might be heard saying. “Anyone obtained stabbed.”
A guard requested individuals to go away the shopping center shortly earlier than about six photographs rang out.
Ardern mentioned that up till Friday, the person had not dedicated offences that might have led to his arrest and detention.
“If we had reached a threshold for him to be in jail, he would have been in jail,” she mentioned.
Requested if, since authorities had been conscious of the person, she was disillusioned when she heard information of the assault, she mentioned: “Sure, as a result of I do know we’ve been doing every part we might … so I used to be completely gutted.”
Of the six wounded individuals, three had been in vital situation, one in critical situation and one other in average situation, the St John ambulance service mentioned.
Witnesses instructed reporters outdoors the mall they’d seen a number of individuals mendacity on the ground with stab wounds. Different mentioned they heard gunshots as they ran out of the grocery store.
Movies posted on-line earlier confirmed panicked customers working out of the mall and searching for cowl.
(Reporting by Praveen MenonEditing by Robert Birsel)