TERROR ON BOURKE ST
1 DEAD, 2 INJURED IN STABBING ATTACK JIHADI BROTHER OF ACCUSED TERRORIST ‘CRAZY-EYES’ KILLER DIES FROM GUNSHOTS
A KNIFE-wielding man who launched a deadly attack in Bourke St yesterday is the brother of an accused terrorist alleged to have plotted a mass murder at Federation Square on New Year’s Eve.
Somali-born Australian known as Mohamed Khalif and also Hassan Shire, stabbed a man to death and injured two other men after his Holden Rodeo exploded in the CBD about 4.10pm.
The man’s wife — who sources described as having been “radicalised” — was missing last night.
Heroic police officers and bystanders tackled the man — who was known to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation — as he lunged at them with a knife.
He was shot in the chest and died in hospital. Officers were understood to be last night raiding the home of the man, who sources said operated as a lone wolf.
The probe is being led by investigators from counter terrorism command and the homicide squad.
The Herald Sun can reveal the man’s brother is Ali Khalif Shire Ali, 21, from Werribee, who will face a Supreme Court trial after pleading not guilty to preparing and collecting documents to commit a terror attack in Federation Square on December 31, 2017.
The Bourke St attacker, aged in his 30s, was also one of 300 “persons of interest” in Victoria, identified as posing a potential security risk and it is understood he had been watched by police.
Authorities are set to use Victoria’s preventative detention laws for the first time in the wake of the attack. The laws allow police to detain a suspect for at least seven days to prevent potential attacks.
Sources said authorities were likely to use the law to detain the suspect’s wife and any other associates deemed to be a security risk.
The Andrews Government’s counter terrorism subcommittee of Cabinet meets at 9am today. The Premier has also suspended all election campaigning until at least Sunday afternoon.
Several gas cylinders were found in the jihadi’s exploded car. Bourke St was thrown into chaos by the deadly peak-hour rampage, as hundreds of people fled the scene outside the Target Centre.
A brave bystander who used a traffic cone to take on the man said: “He had crazy eyes.”
The two injured victims, aged 26 and 58, were being treated in hospital after being stabbed in the upper body. Terrifying video footage of the incident showed a bearded man with a shaved head swinging a knife at police before he was shot by one of the officers.
“The cops were backing off but he kept coming at them,” a witness told the Herald Sun.
Two bystanders stepped in to surround the man, including one who used a shopping trolley as a weapon.
Terrified bystanders yelled “shoot him, shoot him”.
Christian, who was in a nearby bookstore, said he heard a loud noise and saw police chasing a man.
“I heard a loud bang, I ran outside and saw everyone was running the other way,” he said. “I saw a man covered in blood and also saw officers chasing someone.”
Heavily armed police flooded the area in the minutes after the attack.
The terror public service system sirens sounded in the CBD, the first time they have been used for an incident.
The sirens sounded before 6pm, with a public announcement urging people with information about the incident to contact police. An emergency text message was sent to people in the CBD area stating: “Victoria Police is responding to an incident at the corner of Bourke and Swanston streets. Avoid the area.”
Police will increase patrols at major weekend events, including Stakes Day at Flemington today and Remembrance Day at the Shrine of Remembrance tomorrow.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said last night the killer came to Australia from Somalia in the 1990s and lived in Melbourne’s northwest.
Mr Ashton confirmed the man’s family is well known to state and federal police, including counter terror authorities.
The victim who died received “significant” knife injuries to the head.
The terrorist had minor previous charges relating to drugs use and theft.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the attack was “evil and terrifying.” He commended the police who bravely took down the offender.
“They quickly responded in dangerous circumstances. They make everyone proud,” he said.
The injured officers were treated for minor cuts and scratches sustained during the knife attack.
One of the officers was also punched in the head by the terrorist while sitting inside a marked police vehicle.
Mr Andrews also thanked the bystanders who put their lives on the line to defend police and the public.
“They stepped in without a moment’s hesitation,” Mr Andrews said. “These people have qualities that make us proud as well. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured.”
Opposition leader Matthew Guy said: “I would like to put on record my deepest sympathies to those who have been bereaved and injured, and those who have been emotionally impacted by what is another tragic event for our city.
“Police and first responders went above and beyond at a time of great distress to many Melburnians.
“Those first police on the scene have reacted to a circumstance which is horrifying. They have done an incredible job.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “I condemn the act of terrorism in Melbourne that has tragically taken the life of a fellow Australian who has died as a result of this evil and cowardly attack.”
Yesterday’s attack happened close to where James Gargasoulas allegedly killed six people and injured dozens more in January last year.
Police officers and civilians attempt to disarm the knife-wielding attacker on Bourke St. Main picture: CHRIS MACHERAS