02:30 - Source: CNN
Chaos inside a New Zealand supermarket after shoppers stabbed in 'terrorist attack'
CNN  — 

The man responsible for Friday’s knife attack in New Zealand has been named as Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen, CNN affiliate RNZ reports.

A suppression order concealing the man’s name and other details from the public was lifted after it was challenged by the New Zealand government.

Immigration authorities were seeking to have Samsudeen’s refugee status revoked when the attack occured, RNZ reported.

The 32-year-old obtained a knife within the store in the Auckland suburb of New Lynn and used it to stab seven shoppers before police shot him dead, according to authorities, who have called it a “terrorist attack.”

Five people remain in hospital – including three in a critical condition – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference Saturday.

Speaking before the suppression order was lifted, Ardern said the attacker, described as a “supporter of ISIS ideology,” spent three years in prison after being charged multiple times for possessing hunting knives and objectionable publications and had been released from prison two months ago.

The Sri Lankan national, arrived in the country in 2011 on a student visa. He first came to the attention of police in 2016, after posting comments advocating violent extremism on social media.

He was initially arrested at Auckland airport in 2017, believed to be on his way to Syria. Police also found “restricted publications” and a hunting knife in his apartment. He was charged with possessing the items, pleaded guilty and released on bail.

Police guard the area around Countdown LynnMall where a violent extremist reportedly stabbed six people before being shot by police on September 03 in Auckland, New Zealand.

But he was arrested again in 2018 for buying a knife while on bail. A subsequent police search found more “objectionable or extremist materials” at his home.

He faced additional charges and was kept in custody until July this year, when he was sentenced to 12 months of “supervision with special conditions” for possessing objectionable materials and failing to assist the police in exercising search powers.

Ardern said prosecutors had run out of legal avenues to keep him detained.

During his time in custody, he assaulted corrections officers, Ardern added.

Police had kept the man under constant surveillance since his release, requiring up to 30 police officers at any one time, Ardern said.

Ardern said she had received briefings about the threat the man posed in July – and again in August.

At the press conference, Ardern also vowed to tighten counter-terrorism laws this month.

In August, Minister of Justice Kris Faafoi pursued a change in the country’s terror law to make it illegal to plan a terror attack, even if the attack is not carried out.

“As soon as Parliament resumes, we will complete that work. That means working to pass the law as soon as possible and no later than the end of this month,” Ardern said.