New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Friday confirmed that the violent attack that took place at the New Lynn supermarket in Auckland was a “terrorist attack” carried out by a Sri Lankan national who was shot dead by the police.
A spokesperson of ambulance service St Johns said at least six people were injured during the attack that occurred at around 2.40 p.m., including three in critical conditions, reports Xinhua news agency.
“A violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent New Zealanders at a New Lynn Countdown in Auckland,” Ardern told a press conference in Wellington.
“This was a violent attack. It was senseless and I’m sorry it happened,” she said, adding that the police shot the offender within roughly a minute of the attack happening.
The attacker was a Sri Lankan national who arrived in New Zealand in 2011 and has been closely monitored by the New Zealand Police from 2016 for his Islamic State-inspired ideology, according to Ardern.
However, it is unknown whether this man is a New Zealand citizen.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster also confirmed at the press conference that the individual behind the attack was under heavy surveillance over “concerns about his ideology”.
The offender was acting alone and there was no further threat to the public, said Coster.
The person travelled from where he lived in Glen Eden to Countdown at LynnMall in Western Auckland, and was closely watched by surveillance teams.
He entered the Countdown supermarket where he obtained a knife.
Surveillance teams were as close as they could be, and when the commotion began they acted, according to Coster.
When the man approached them with the knife, he was shot and killed, said Coster.
Armed police have blocked off the roads nearby and at least 10 police vehicles were currently around the mall, where the supermarket is located.
Friday’s attack comes two years after New Zealand saw its worst terror attack when a white supremacist gunman murdered 51 Muslim worshippers across two mosques in Christchurch in 2019.