Knives taken off supermarket shelves in New Zealand after terrorist attack

A New Zealand supermarket chain announced that it was temporarily removing all scissors and knives from its shelves following an attack that left several people injured at one of its stores on Friday.

A general manager of supermarket chain Countdown said it was also considering if they would sell such items in the future.

"Last night, we made the decision to temporarily remove all knives and scissors from our shelves while we consider whether we should continue to sell them," Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s general manager for safety, said in a statement on Saturday.

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"This is in no way a reflection on our customers, but an act of support for our team. We want all of our team to feel safe when they come to work, especially considering the events of yesterday," Hannifin said.

Reuters noted, citing local reports, that sharp knives had been taken off shelves at other supermarkets too.

On Friday, a Sri Lankan national who was previously known to security forces in New Zealand entered a Countdown supermarket, going after several customers and stabbing them, witnesses said.  

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that the attacker “was a supporter of ISIS ideology.”

Officials said Friday that six people were injured from the attack, with three transported to the hospital in critical condition. One person was in serious condition, and two others were in moderate condition.

The man, who has not yet been identified, was shot and killed within a minute of the attack occurring, Ardern said. She said he was a "violent extremist" and called the incident a "terrorist attack."

“It was carried out by an individual — not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity, but an individual person who is gripped by ideology that is not supported here by anyone or any community. He alone carries the responsibility for these acts; let that be where the judgment falls,” Ardern said.

In 2019, a white supremacist shot and killed 51 people at two Christchurch mosques. The incident was labeled as terrorism by Ardern following the deadly attack, which also injured 40 others, according to The Washington Post.