New Zealand: 6 people injured in stabbings, attacker shot dead
Police in New Zealand shot dead a man after he stabbed and wounded at least six people in a supermarket. The incident took place around 2:40 pm (local time) on Friday in the New Lynn suburb of Auckland, authorities said. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has described it as a "terrorist attack," saying the accused was inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS) ideology.
3 of 6 wounded in critical condition, officials say
The attacker entered the LynnMall shopping center on Friday afternoon and picked up a knife from a store display before going on a stabbing spree. He wounded six people, and three of them were in a critical condition, reports said. The police shot him within 60 seconds from the start of the attack, according to officials.
'A violent, senseless attack'
"A violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack," PM Ardern said at a press conference on Friday. "This was a violent attack, it was senseless, and I am so sorry it happened." She informed the attacker was a Sri Lankan national and had been living in New Zealand for 10 years, adding he was already on the watch-list of the authorities.
Attacker was known to authorities, was under surveillance
Ardern said the man had been in prison but the authorities released him as they were legally obliged to do so. "I know that we've been doing everything that we could, so I was absolutely gutted," she said. Police officials and ambulances were present at the scene after the attack, and officials cordoned off the streets around the said mall.
Officers acted with 'great courage': NZ Police chief
New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster assured the man was acting alone and there was no further danger. "I am confident we have done everything we can within the law...The fact we were able to react within 60 seconds shows that," Coster said. He stated the police officials involved with the incident acted with "great courage."
Attack reignites memories of 2019 Christchurch shootings
Friday's attack has triggered memories of the ghastly Christchurch shootings, when a white supremacist gunman killed 51 people and injured dozens others at two mosques in that city in March, 2019. That was the deadliest terror attack in the country's history, also leading to a tightening of New Zealand's gun laws. The attacker, Brenton Tarrant, was sentenced to life in prison.