By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – New Zealand’s prime minister said Friday that police shot and killed a “violent extremist” of the Islamist State group after stabbing and wounded at least six people in an Auckland supermarket.
Jacinda Ardern said the incident was a “terrorist attack” carried out by a Sri Lankan national under police surveillance.
It wasn’t clear how the Islamist militant had been able to escape police attention briefly.
The Sri Lankan national had been in New Zealand for 10 years, Ardern said. “A violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent New Zealanders,” Ardern told a briefing.
The attacker, who was not identified, had been a “person of interest” for about five years, Ardern said.
She claimed he had been killed within 60 seconds of beginning his attack in the city of Auckland.
A witness told the New Zealand Herald the attacker had shouted: “Allahu akbar” (Allah is greatest). At least six people required hospitalization, according to several sources.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told the man was acting alone, and police were confident there was no further threat to the public.
“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,” Coster stressed.
New Zealand was on alert for attacks since a white supremacist gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in the city of Christchurch on March 15, 2019, authorities say.
Ardern asked if the Friday attack could have been revenge for the 2019 mosque shootings, said it was not clear. The man alone who was responsible for the violence, not a faith, she said.
“It was hateful; it was wrong. It was carried out by an individual, not a faith,” Ardern said. “It would be wrong to direct any frustration to anyone beyond this individual.”
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