One dead in Melbourne ‘terrorism’ knife attack
Police also killed attacker after three people stabbed
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