A stabbing rampage in an Auckland shopping mall has been described as a terrorist attack by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who identified the attacker as a violent extremist, a Sri Lankan national who had been a person of national security interest since 2016.
Witnesses said the man stabbed several people at the supermarket before being shot by police.
“A violent extremist undertook a terrorist attack on innocent New Zealanders,” Ardern told a briefing.
The attacker was a Sri Lankan national who had been in New Zealand for 10 years and had been a “person of interest” for about five years, she said.
The man was killed within 60 seconds of beginning the attack, she said, adding that he had been inspired by the Islamic State militant group.
“It was hateful, it was wrong. It was carried out by an individual, not a faith,” Ardern said. “He alone carries the responsibility for these acts.”