New Zealand police took notice of the attacker for the first time in 2016 when he expressed sympathy for terrorist attacks and advocated violent extremism on Facebook.
New Zealand officials on Saturday confirmed the name of the attacker who stabbed seven people at an Auckland supermarket before he was shot dead by police. The officials said that Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, 32, was the Islamic State-inspired extremist killed by police on Friday, reported Associated Press.
|Ahmed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen appears in the High Court in Auckland, New Zealand, Aug. 7, 2018.(Greg Bowker/New Zealand Herald via AP)|
Samsudeen was 22 when he arrived in New Zealand in 2011 on a student visa. Police took notice of him in 2016 when Samsudeen expressed sympathy for terrorist attacks and advocated violent extremism on Facebook. His online activity related to extremist stuff continued even after the police spoke to him twice.
Samsudeen was finally arrested in May 2017 at Auckland International Airport as police believed he was heading to Syria. He was charged for possession of restricted publications, to which he pleaded guilty. While on bail, he bought a knife and was arrested again.
The attacker spent months in prison but the police couldn’t keep him there any longer as they failed to lay an additional charge under the existing Terrorism Suppression Act for the knife and online posts. They had to release Samsudeen in mid-July this year but kept tracking his every move.
Undercover officers sprang into action as the attacker went on a stabbing spree at an Auckland supermarket. They shot Samsudeen dead within a couple of minutes of him beginning the attack.
“As you can see, agencies used every tool available to them to protect innocent people from this individual,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a press conference Saturday.
“But we owe it to everyone to have other people look at the facts of this case too, to analyse them, to see what was done, and what more could have been done.”
Ardern had earlier confirmed that five of the stabbing victims were in a hospital, of whom three were in critical condition. While Ardern said she can provide the details about the attacker’s criminal history, she didn’t reveal his name.
“I am also unable to share his name, but I would note, this is not something I had any intention of sharing regardless of the court ruling. No terrorist, whether alive or deceased, deserves their name to be shared for the infamy they were seeking,” the New Zealand prime minister had said.