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Armed police respond to incident on Auckland’s North Shore after four schools were put in lockdown



Armed police have been deployed to an incident on Auckland’s North Shore after some schools were placed in lockdown.

Takapuna Grammar, Belmont Intermediate, Belmont Primary, Bayswater Primary School, and Northcote Intermediate all went into lockdown just after 11am.

About quarter of an hour later the schools posted on Facebook saying the lockdown had lifted.

They said the lockdown was due to a police incident in the area.

Bayswater and Belmont’s posts said everyone was safe.

Police on Bardia Street in Belmont, Auckland.

An armed police officer at the scene of the incident. Photo: RNZ / Finn Blackwell

Takapuna Grammar said students were safely inside buildings as instructed by police and the Ministry of Education.

Northcote Intermediate said its lockdown was over.

Police confirmed there had been a lockdown.

Police on Bardia Street in Belmont, Auckland.

Police at the incident. Photo: RNZ / Finn Blackwell

Locals described seeing police cars speeding through the area.

Belmont Intermediate principal Nick Hill said the school was advised to go into lockdown as a precaution as there was a firearms incident in the area.

“Lockdown protocols were initiated and our parent community were made aware of the school going into lockdown.

“Our lockdown has since been lifted.”

Breaking News

Al Qaeda leader Zawahiri killed in strike in Afghanistan – Biden



Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US strike in Afghanistan over the weekend, US President Joe Biden said, in the biggest blow to the militant group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who had a $25 million bounty on his head, helped coordinate the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3000 people.

US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the United States carried out a drone strike in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday morning at 6.18am local time.

“Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in remarks from the White House. “We never back down.”

US intelligence determined with “high confidence” that the man killed was Zawahiri, a senior administration official told reporters. No other casualties occurred.

“Zawahiri continued to pose an active threat to US persons, interests and national security,” the official said on a conference call. “His death deals a significant blow to al Qaeda and will degrade the group’s ability to operate.”

There were rumours of Zawahiri’s death several times in recent years, and he was long reported to have been in poor health.

His death raises questions about whether Zawahiri received sanctuary from the Taliban following their takeover of Kabul in August 2021. The official said senior Taliban officials were aware of his presence in the city.

The drone attack is the first known US strike inside Afghanistan since US troops and diplomats left the country in August 2021. The move may bolster the credibility of Washington’s assurances that the United States can still address threats from Afghanistan without a military presence in the country.

In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that a strike took place and strongly condemned it, calling it a violation of “international principles.”

Zawahiri succeeded bin Laden as al Qaeda leader after years as its main organizer and strategist, but his lack of charisma and competition from rival militants Islamic State hobbled his ability to inspire spectacular attacks on the West.

Until the US announcement, Zawahiri had been rumoured variously to be in Pakistan’s tribal area or inside Afghanistan.

A video released in April in which he praised an Indian Muslim woman for defying a ban on wearing an Islamic head scarf dispelled rumours that he had died.

The senior US official said finding Zawahiri was the result of persistent counterterrorism work. The United States identified this year that Zawahiri’s wife, daughter and her children had relocated to a safe house in Kabul, then identified that Zawahiri was there as well, the official said.

“Once Zawahiri arrived at the location, we are not aware of him ever leaving the safe house,” the official said. He was identified multiple times on the balcony, where he was ultimately struck. He continued to produce videos from the house and some may be released after his death, the official said.

In the last few weeks, Biden convened officials to scrutinize the intelligence. He was updated throughout May and June and was briefed on 1 July on a proposed operation by intelligence leaders. On 25 July he received an updated report and authorised the strike once an opportunity was available.

A loud explosion echoed through Kabul early Sunday morning.

“A house was hit by a rocket in Sherpoor. There were no casualties as the house was empty,” Abdul Nafi Takor, spokesman of the interior ministry, said earlier.

One Taliban source, requesting anonymity, said there had been reports of at least one drone flying over Kabul that morning.

With other senior al Qaeda members, Zawahiri is believed to have plotted the 12 October 2000 attack on the USS Cole naval vessel in Yemen which killed 17 US sailors and injured more than 30 others, the Rewards for Justice website said.

He was indicted in the United States for his role in bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on 7 August 1998 that killed 224 people and wounded more than 5000 others.

Both bin laden and Zawahiri had eluded capture when US-led forces toppled Afghanistan’s Taliban government in late 2001 following the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Bin Laden was killed in 2011 by US forces in Pakistan. (RNZ)

– Reuters

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Breaking News

Former Fijian killed in Christchurch stabbing attack



Laisa Maraia Waka, aged in her 50s, was walking along the footpath on Cheyenne St in Sockburn when she was attacked by a man wielding a knife about 4.20pm on Saturday.
Former Fijiian was just metres from her home, where she lived with her husband and son.
A 37-year-old man appeared via audio visual link in the Christchurch District Court on today charged with her murder.
The man was granted interim name suppression, and was remanded in custody until July 15.
The case has been referred to the High Court at Christchurch.
Waka moved to New Zealand from Fiji several years ago .
On Sunday, Canterbury district commander Superintendent John Price described the attack as “horrific, traumatic and random”.
The “senseless act” would have an “incredible impact” on the community, he said.
Waka had caught a bus home after work. She had walked alone about 300 metres from her bus stop when she was allegedly stabbed.
Residents and paramedics tried to save her life, but she died at the scene.

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Breaking News

Stabbing in Auckland’s North Shore



Multiple people have been injured in an incident in Murrays Bay on Auckland’s North Shore.

Police say a person is in custody over the incident in which they understand a “number of people” have been injured.

“At this early stage we are still working to confirm the exact number and nature of injuries,” they said.

“A person is in police custody and is assisting us with inquiries.”

Diversions are in place and people are asked to avoid the area.

“I live just in front of the beach and I hear all the screaming and then all the cops was there, with someone in the floor.”

“People was screaming … I heard that all began in Murrays Bay.”

Café BayBay owner Isaac Hong told 1News there was a stabbing.

“There is a bus stop across the road and the first stabbing happened there.”

He said he saw the police helicopter in the area, as well as “maybe two, three ambulances” and “lots of police cars, on and off”.

Writing on Facebook, Auckland City councillor Chris Darby praised the police’s “quick response” and the “brave intervention of a group of construction workers who foiled the attacker”

Diversions are in place and people are asked to avoid the area, police say.

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