One dead in Mel­bourne ‘ter­ror­ism’ knife at­tack

Po­lice also killed at­tacker af­ter three peo­ple stabbed

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - WORLD NEWS - BY TREVOR MAR­SHALLSEA

A knife-wield­ing man has stabbed three peo­ple, one fa­tally, in Mel­bourne 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.

“The Islamic State group claimed the at­tack”

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 in the back.

Video from the scene showed a man swing­ing a knife at two po­lice of­fi­cers near a burn­ing car be­fore he was shot.

Vic­to­ria Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Gra­ham Ash­ton said the sus­pect, orig­i­nally from So­ma­lia, was known to po­lice and the in­ci­dent was be­ing treated as ter­ror­ism.

“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, adding that the po­lice counter-ter­ror­ism com­mand was work­ing on the case with homi­cide de­tec­tives.

The Islamic State (IS) claimed the at­tack in a state­ment re­leased through its Aa­maq me­dia arm.

It said the man was “one of Islamic State fight­ers” and had re­sponded to IS 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 in Mel­bourne, with a ma­jor horse race sched­uled for Satur­day and a na­tional league foot­ball match the fol­low­ing day. Sun­day is also Remembrance Day, when First World War me­mo­rial cer­e­monies are held.

Mr Ash­ton said po­lice were “do­ing se­cu­rity re­assess­ments of th­ese events in light of what’s oc­curred”, but there was “no on­go­ing threat we’re cur­rently aware of in re­la­tion to peo­ple sur­round­ing this in­di­vid­ual”.

Prime min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son con­demned the “evil and cow­ardly at­tack”.

He said: “Aus­tralians will never be in­tim­i­dated by th­ese ap­palling at­tacks and we will con­tinue to go about our lives and en­joy the free­doms that the ter­ror­ists de­test.”

SCENE: The at­tacker’s burn­ing ve­hi­cle can be seen in the back­ground as po­lice cor­don off the city cen­tre streets

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