One killed in Melbourne knife attack
A knife-wielding man stabbed three people, one fatally, in Melbourne yesterday in an attack police linked to terrorism.
The attack during the afternoon rush hour brought the centre of Australia’s second-largest city to a standstill. Hundreds of people watched from behind barricades as police tried to apprehend the attacker. Officers said the man got out of a pick-up truck, which then caught fire, and attacked three bystanders with a knife.
He also attempted to attack police who arrived on the scene, before being shot in the chest by an officer. He died in hospital. One of the victims also died, while the two others were admitted to hospital.
Police said the attacker’s vehicle contained several barbecue gas cylinders. A bomb squad rendered them safe.
Victoria Police commissioner Graham Ashton said the suspect, originally from Somalia, was known to police and the incident was being treated as terrorism.
“From what we know of that individual we are treating this as a terrorism incident,” he told reporters, adding that the police counterterrorism command was working on the case with homicide detectives.
Known to police
“He’s known to police mainly in respect to relatives that he has which certainly are persons of interest to us, and he’s someone that accordingly is known to both Victorian police and the federal intelligence authorities,” he said.
The Islamic State group, also known as Isis, claimed the attack in a statement released through its Amaq media arm, but provided no evidence.
It said the man was “one of Islamic State fighters” and had responded to Isis calls for attacks in countries that are part of the international coalition fighting the militants in Syria and Iraq.
The attack occurred on the eve of a busy weekend, with a major horse race scheduled for today and a national league football match tomorrow.
Prime minister Scott Morrison condemned an “evil and cowardly attack”. – AP