Extremist was released from New Zealand jail despite fears
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand authorities imprisoned a man inspired by the Islamic State group for three years after catching him with a hunting knife and extremist videos — but at a certain point, despite grave fears he would attack others, they say they could do nothing more to keep him behind bars. So for 53 days from July, police tracked the man’s every move, an operation that involved some 30 officers working around the clock. Their fears were borne out Friday when he walked into an Auckland supermarket, grabbed a kitchen knife from a store shelf and stabbed five people, critically injuring three. Two more shoppers were injured in the melee. On Saturday, three of the victims remained hospitalized in critical condition and three more were in stable or moderate conditions. The seventh person was recovering at home. The youngest victim was a 29-year-old woman, the oldest a 77-year-old man.
Court documents named the attacker as 32-year-old Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen, a Tamil Muslim from Sri Lanka who arrived in New Zealand 10 years ago on a student visa seeking refugee status, which he was granted in 2013. Undercover officers monitoring Samsudeen from just outside the supermarket sprang into action when they saw shoppers running and heard shouting, police said, and shot him dead within a couple of minutes of him beginning his attack. A bystander’s video records the sound of 10 shots being fired in rapid succession.The attack has highlighted deficiencies in New Zealand’s anti-terror laws, which experts say are too focused on punishing actions and inadequate for dealing with plots before they are carried out. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said lawmakers were close to filling some of those legislative holes when the attack occurred. She vowed law changes by the end of the month. Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the law they were working under required a suspect to make the first move. “We might have an understanding of intent, and ideology, and we might have high levels of concern,” Coster said. “But that is not sufficient for us to take any enforcement action.” Samsudeen was first noticed by police in 2016 when he started posting support for terror attacks and violent extremism on Facebook. Source