Lankan terror suspect shot dead in New Zealand | Daily News

Lankan terror suspect shot dead in New Zealand

Police open fire after stabbing spree
Six injured, three critically
Arrived in NZ 10 years ago
A victim of the supermarket stabbing in New Zealand is taken to hospital as shocked staff members try to console each other.
A victim of the supermarket stabbing in New Zealand is taken to hospital as shocked staff members try to console each other.

A Sri Lankan Islamic State-inspired attacker injured six people in a New Zealand supermarket knife attack yesterday, before being shot dead by police officers who had him under round-the-clock surveillance, New Zealand media reported.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was horrified that the Sri Lankan national, who had arrived in New Zealand in 2011 had managed to carry out his “hateful” assault even though he was on a terror watch list.

Eyewitnesses said the suspect entered a shopping mall in suburban Auckland and seized a knife from a display before going on a stabbing spree. Six people were wounded, three critically, in the 60 seconds before the surveillance officers opened fire. Shoppers fled for the exits as the firing began. “What happened today was despicable, it was hateful, it was wrong,” Premier Ardern said after the attack.

“It was carried out by an individual, not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity. He alone carries the responsibility for these acts.” Asked about the man’s motivations, she said “it was a violent ideology and ISIS-inspired”. The suspect was later identified as Ahamed Adhil Mohamed Samsudeen..

The attack has stirred painful memories of the Christchurch mosques shootings in March 2019, New Zealand’s worst terror atrocity, when an Australian white supremacist gunman murdered 51 Muslim worshippers and severely wounded another 40.

Ardern said she was limited in what she could publicly reveal about the attacker because he had been before the courts previously and was the subject of court suppression orders.

New Zealand media reported the man was a 32-year-old who was accused of plotting a “lone wolf” terror attack using knives. The case failed after a judge ruled that planning a terror attack was not in itself an offence under existing laws. The man was however found guilty on lesser charges of possessing propaganda supporting Islamic State and sentenced to 12 months’ supervision. He was not sentenced to jail.

She said new terror laws had been drafted to close the loophole but they had not yet been passed by Parliament.

Ardern said she was devastated a known terror risk had managed to carry out an attack, saying all aspects of the incident would be reviewed.

“I know that we’ve been doing everything that we could, so I was absolutely gutted,” she said, describing her feelings upon learning about the stabbings.

Ardern did not disclose exactly how many other terror suspects were under surveillance, saying only “there are very few people who fall into this category”.

She thanked the Aucklanders who helped the victims. “To everyone who was there and who witnessed such a horrific event, I can’t imagine how you are feeling but thank you for rushing to the aid of the people who needed you,” she said.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said authorities were confident the man was acting alone and there was no further known danger to society.

He said there would be questions about how an attack occurred in front of his officers, but defended their actions.

“I’m satisfied, based on the information to me, that the staff involved not only did what we would expect in this situation, they did it with great courage,” Coster said.The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand called the attack an act of hate. “Terrorists who do such inhumane and vile acts do not belong to any religion,” said the group’s President Ibrar Sheikh.

Professor Rohan Gunaratna, Director General Institute of National Security Studies said, “Unless religious radicalisation is reversed by rehabilitation, Muslim terrorism and extremism will be a significant challenge both in Sri Lanka and overseas. After the Easter attack by the Islamic State in 2019, Sri Lankan Muslims influenced by the Islamic State ideology engaged in acts of terrorist stabbings in the UK and in New Zealand in 2020 and 2021. During a stabbing spree in a mall, Ahamed Adhil Mohamed Samsudeen was killed by New Zealand Police on September 3, 2021. He was inspired by Sudesh Amman, another Islamic State terrorist of Sri Lankan heritage killed by the British police in Streatham High Road London on February 2, 2020. Sudesh who stabbed two members of the public also planned to kill the Queen.

Professor Gunaratna added, “The radicalisation of Sri Lankan Muslims both at home and overseas should be addressed at three levels. First, security and intelligence services should share information about suspects to prevent and respond to attacks. The cooperation should shift to collaboration and partnership where information is actively shared to preempt attacks. Second, the Governments should work with religious authorities to rehabilitate those driven by religious extremism. Rehabilitation should be made mandatory to those advocating hate speech. Third, Muslim leadership should address the ongoing radicalisation in madrasahs and mosques by introducing interfaith education, critical thinking and philosophy. To disrupt the radicalisation pipeline, the religious, educational and digital space has to be reformed.”

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