Mel­bourne stab­bing spree leaves 2 dead, in­clud­ing at­tacker

Houston Chronicle - - NATION | WORLD -

MEL­BOURNE, Aus­tralia — A knife-wield­ing man was fa­tally shot by po­lice in Mel­bourne on Fri­day af­ter he stabbed three peo­ple, killing one, in what au­thor­i­ties de­scribed as a ter­ror­ist at­tack.

Wit­nesses said the man emerged from a ve­hi­cle, which then burst into flames, shortly af­ter 4 p.m. Po­lice said there were gas cylin­ders in the ve­hi­cle. The man then be­gan to at­tack pedes­tri­ans on Bourke Street, a busy shop­ping strip in Mel­bourne’s city cen­ter.

When of­fi­cers ar­rived at the scene, they were con­fronted with the man bran­dish­ing a bloody knife. A video of the con­fronta­tion, which cir­cu­lated on so­cial me­dia, shows a civil­ian by­stander try­ing to help the po­lice by re­peat­edly push­ing a shop­ping cart at the man.

“Some­one screamed, ‘I think he has a knife,’ and I turned around and saw the car on fire,” said Mee­gan May, who was a pas­sen­ger on a tram that passed the scene of the at­tack.

Of­fi­cers ul­ti­mately shot the man in the chest and ar­rested him. The man, whose iden­tity has not been dis­closed, was taken to a hospi­tal, where he died about 30 min­utes later, po­lice said.

“We are treat­ing this as a ter­ror­ism in­ci­dent,” Gra­ham Ash­ton, chief com­mis­sioner of the Vic­to­ria Po­lice, said at a news con­fer­ence. He said the So­ma­l­i­born man — iden­ti­fied as 30year-old Has­sain Khalif Shire Ali — had been known to the po­lice.

Ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press, Shire Ali had also planned to set off an ex­plo­sion. Vic­to­ria state Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Gra­ham Ash­ton said Shire Ali had planned for his ve­hi­cle to ex­plode, but gas cylin­ders in the back of his pickup failed to ig­nite.

The Is­lamic State claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack, ac­cord­ing to the SITE In­tel­li­gence Group, which tracks the ac­tiv­ity of ex­trem­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions on­line, al­though the group pro­vided no ev­i­dence.

The names and ages of the vic­tims, who were all men, have not yet been re­leased.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred less than two years af­ter an at­tack on the same street, in which a man bar­reled his car into a crowd, killing six pedes­tri­ans and in­jur­ing at least 30 oth­ers. His trial is un­der­way this week in the Vic­to­rian Supreme Court.

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