ISIS inspired terrorist stabs six in New Zealand despite 24/7 surveillance by police

It’s already Saturday morning in New Zealand as I write this. Friday there was an ISIS-inspired terror attack inside a grocery store that left six people injured, three of them in critical condition. The attacker used a knife which he had picked up in the store. Video captured the moment police entered the store and shot him dead.

The man responsible for the attack was well known to the legal system and had been tried previously for plotting an attack exactly like the one he eventually carried out but in the previous case a judge ruled that plotting an attack (even buying a knife) wasn’t an offense by itself under existing New Zealand law:

The offender is a 32-year-old man — known only as “S” for legal reasons — who has been on the police’s radar for several years, the Herald revealed last month…

Last year, the Crown had sought to prosecute S under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, but a High Court judge ruled that preparing a terrorist attack was not in itself an offence under the legislation.

S was instead prosecuted on lesser charges. On May 26 this year, he was found guilty by a jury of possessing propaganda-style material supportive of Islamic State…

According to a report prepared for his sentencing in July this year, S has “the means and motivation to commit violence in the community”.

He was sentenced to one year of supervision, which was to be served at a West Auckland mosque.

There have already been proposals made to change the law in New Zealand so that planning an attack is a prosecutable offence but those changes haven’t taken effect yet. In any case, because it was well known that “S” was an ISIS supporter who seemed determined to carry out a knife attack, police were following him 24/7 including prior to this attack:

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said a police surveillance team and a specialist tactics group had followed the man from his home in the suburb of Glen Eden to the supermarket in New Lynn.

But while they had grave ongoing concerns about the man, they had no particular reason to think he was planning an attack on Friday, Coster said. The man appeared to be going into the store to do his grocery shopping.

“He entered the store, as he had done before. He obtained a knife from within the store,” Coster said. “Surveillance teams were as close as they possibly could be to monitor his activity.”

Witnesses said the man shouted “Allahu akbar” — meaning God is great — and started stabbing random shoppers, sending people running and screaming.

Coster said that when the commotion started, two police from the special tactics group rushed over. He said the man charged at the officers with the knife and so they shot and killed him.

“S” was apparently shot dead about 60 seconds after he started his attack but that was long enough for him to injure six people, three of them critically.

Here’s the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, making a statement about the attack.

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