Knife-wield­ing killer on ter­ror watch list

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Front Page - DAVID HUR­LEY

A KNIFE-WIELD­ING as­sailant who was on an ASIO ter­ror watch list was shot at point­blank range af­ter butcher­ing one in­no­cent by­stander and crit­i­cally in­jur­ing two more in a bloody ram­page in the heart of Mel­bourne’s CBD yes­ter­day.

It can be re­vealed that the So­mali man, who died from a gun­shot wound in hos­pi­tal last night, was the brother of a man fac­ing trial on ter­ror charges. Last night in­tel­li­gence bosses rushed Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son into an emer­gency se­cu­rity brief­ing.

Bourke St, still reel­ing from a 2017 car ram­page that killed six, went into lock­down when the man drove a ute full of gas cylin­ders over the foot­path be­fore it ex­ploded, then got out and at­tacked.

A KNIFE-wield­ing man who launched a deadly at­tack in Mel­bourne’s Bourke St yes­ter­day is the brother of an ac­cused ter­ror­ist al­leged to have plot­ted a mass mur­der at nearby Fed­er­a­tion Square on New Year’s Eve. The So­mali-born Is­lamic ter­ror­ist known as Mo­hamed Khalif, and also Has­san Shire, stabbed a man to death yes­ter­day and in­jured two other men af­ter his Holden Rodeo ex- ploded 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 last night.

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 Sat­ur­day Tele­graph 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 Mel­bourne on De­cem­ber 31, 2017.

The Bourke St at­tacker, aged in his 30s, was 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.

Sev­eral gas cylin­ders were found in the ji­hadi’s burnt out car.

Bourke St was thrown

into chaos by the deadly peak-hour ram­page, as hun­dreds of peo­ple fled the scene out­side the Tar­get Cen­tre.

One brave by­stander who used a traf­fic cone to take on the man said that, “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 said.

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 ac­tual in­ci­dent.

Vic­to­ria Po­lice Chief Com­mis­sioner Gra­ham Ash­ton said last night the killer ter­ror­ist came to Aus­tralia from So­ma­lia in the 1990s and lived in Mel­bourne’s north­west­ern sub­urbs. He had mi­nor pre­vi­ous charges re­lat­ing to drug use and theft.

Mr Ash­ton con­firmed the man’s fam­ily was well known to state and fed­eral po­lice, in­clud­ing counter-ter­ror­ism au­thor­i­ties.

The vic­tim who died re­ceived “sig­nif­i­cant” knife in­juries to the head, he said.

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.

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,” he said.

“Th­ese peo­ple have qual­i­ties that make us proud as well. Our thoughts and prayers are with the in­jured.”

The at­tacker bran­dishes a knife at po­lice in front of a burn­ing ute on Bourke St (main image) mo­ments be­fore he was shot by an of­fi­cer (be­low). Main pic­ture: Chris Macheras

Po­lice of­fi­cers try to fight off the as­sailant. One of­fi­cer draws his gun on the man. The of­fi­cer fires at point-blank range. his The at­tacker clutches chest and goes down. The ex­plod­ing gas cylin­ders en­gulf the tray of the ute. Pic­tures: Stu­art Gaut, David Caird, Josh Fa­gan

By­standers pin the as­sailant to the ground, (above) paramedics as­sist an in­jured vic­tim of the at­tack, and (be­low) heav­ily armed po­lice ar­rive.

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