AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Six individuals had been injured in a knife assault at a grocery store in New Zealand on Friday, an outburst of violence that the prime minister labeled a “terrorist attack” that had been carried out by a “violent extremist” impressed by the Islamic State.
The suspect, a Sri Lankan nationwide, was shot and killed by the police, officers mentioned. He had been underneath fixed, lively surveillance on the time of the assault on the market in West Auckland, they mentioned. The suspect was not instantly recognized.
“A violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent New Zealanders in the New Lynn Countdown in Auckland,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mentioned at a information convention, referring to the grocery store.
“What happened today was despicable, it was hateful, it was wrong,” she added. “It was carried out by an individual — not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity, but an individual person who is gripped by ideology that is not supported here by anyone or any community. He alone carries the responsibility for these acts; let that be where the judgment falls.”
It was the primary terrorist assault within the nation since an Australian gunman, Brenton H. Tarrant, killed 51 individuals and injured 40 at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019, the deadliest assault within the nation’s historical past. Mr. Tarrant grew to become the primary convicted legal in New Zealand’s historical past to be sentenced to life in jail with out eligibility for launch. The massacres additionally prompted a major tightening of New Zealand’s gun legal guidelines.
Those injured on Friday had been taken to hospitals within the Auckland space. Three had been in vital situation, and one was in severe situation, mentioned Glenn Metcalfe, an official from St. John’s Ambulance in New Zealand.
Ms. Ardern mentioned the assault happened about 2:40 p.m. Auckland is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak pushed by the extra transmissible Delta variant, and it has been underneath a stringent lockdown, with solely supermarkets and different important companies open.
Officials mentioned the assault was carried out with a knife that the suspect had taken from a shelf on the grocery store.
The prime minister mentioned the suspect, who got here to New Zealand in 2011, had been recognized to safety forces since 2016. She described him as a lone actor who had been underneath fixed monitoring due to considerations about his ideology.
“This was a violent attack,” she mentioned. “It was senseless, and I’m so sorry it happened.”
Surveillance groups had been as shut as they may probably be on the time of the stabbings, mentioned Andrew Coster, New Zealand’s police commissioner.
“The reality is that when you are surveilling someone on a 24/7 basis, it is not possible to be immediately next to them at all times,” Commissioner Coster mentioned. “The staff intervened as quickly as they could, and they prevented further injury in what was a terrifying situation.”
Ms. Ardern added, “We used every element and lever in the law that was available.”
The assault on Friday has revived reminiscences of the Christchurch assault, mentioned Abdur Razzaq Khan, a Muslim group chief with New Zealand’s Federation of Islamic Associations.
“When we first heard about it, it resurrected the trauma that we had two years ago,” he mentioned. “Such inhuman and vile acts don’t belong to any religion. This is a sheer act of hate.”
Since the massacres in Christchurch, the Muslim communities in New Zealand have performed an lively position in working with the authorities to counter terrorism within the nation, he added.
“Extremism, in this particular case or any other case — we have to really root it out from the grass roots in the sense of identifying who these people are and making sure the authorities are aware of them,” he mentioned.