New Zealand police shot and killed a “violent extremist” who stabbed and wounded at least six people in an Auckland supermarket.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the event as a “terrorist attack” by a Sri Lankan national who was under surveillance.
The man, who cannot be identified, is said to have been inspired by the Islamic State terrorist group.
PM Ardern said he was killed within 60 seconds of the attack by police.
“What happened today was despicable, it was hateful it was wrong,” said PM Ardern in a press conference on Friday afternoon.
She said the man, whose identity cannot be revealed due to suppression orders, had arrived in New Zealand in October 2011 and became a person of national security interest in 2016.
He had been under constant monitoring and heavy surveillance due to concerns about his ideology.
However, questions have been raised about why action against him was not taken before six people were injured.
“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. The staff intervened as quickly as they could and they prevented further injury in what was a terrifying situation,” said Police Commissioner Andrew Coster.
One witness had earlier told news outlet Stuff NZ that it had been a scene of hysteria.
“[People were] running out, hysterically, just screaming, yelling, scared,” he said, adding that he saw an elderly man lying on the ground with a stab wound.
Videos online show panicked shoppers running out of the Countdown supermarket at LynnMall in New Lynn.
Local reports say out of the six patients taken to hospital, three are critical, one is in a serious condition and two are in moderate condition.
Countdown’s general manger of safety, Kiri Hannifin said she was “devastated by what’s taken place in our Lynnmall store. We will be supporting all of our LynnMall team… Countdown Lynnmall will be closed until further notice.”