Sunday Territorian

NZ fearful of increased possibilit­y of further terror attacks


WARNINGS have been issued over the high possibilit­y of more terrorist attacks in New Zealand, as five people remain in hospital, three in critical condition after Friday’s shocking incident in an Auckland supermarke­t.

The government is under fire in the aftermath of the ISIS-inspired attack by an asyet unnamed 32-year-old Sri

Lankan national who entered the country in 2011.

The man known only as S was well known as a significan­t terrorist threat by authoritie­s and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had been briefed on the man’s terrorist leanings as recently as July.

S was under 24-hour surveillan­ce but was still able to carry out the attack.

Police took about 2½ minutes to react to the attack before S was shot dead. In videos posted to social media, people can be heard screaming about a stabbing in the supermarke­t before several shots ring out in quick succession.

Ms Ardern has said she was “gutted” by news of the attack at a Countdown supermarke­t in New Lynn Mall in the west of Auckland, which came 2½ years after 51 people were murdered in a terrorist attack on the Al Noor Mosque in Christchur­ch.

Condemnati­on of New Zealand’s “lax” terror laws has come from victims of that attack and terror experts who have called for accountabi­lity from the government, amid warnings another attack “is going to happen”.

Christchur­ch victim Temel Atacocugu, who was shot nine times in the attack, said news of the supermarke­t stabbings made him feel sick. “The storm inside me began again,” Mr Atacocugu told the New Zealand Herald.

“Violence in the name of any faith or ideology is not acceptable. If we agree on this, then we must expect law in New Zealand that is strong enough to stop terrorist acts before they happen. My early feelings are that New Zealand authoritie­s have failed again, just like on March 15, 2019.

“As a survivor of terrorism, I want as soon as possible for the government to show accountabi­lity, just like the accountabi­lity that was demanded of them following March 15, 2019. This attack should be treated exactly the same.”

Ms Ardern promised to change New Zealand’s terrorism laws by the end of the month, that many claim have not kept pace with the changing threat landscape.

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