Knifeman shot dead after terror attack in Melbourne’s busiest shopping district
ISLAMIC State last night claimed responsibility after a knife-wielding migrant stabbed a pedestrian to death in a frenzied attack in Melbourne.
Two other stab victims were taken to hospital, while the 31-year-old assailant – who had earlier set fire to ‘barbecue-style’ gas bottles in his car and attacked police – died on the operating table after being shot by officers.
Dramatic video images showed the man lunging repeatedly at police officers with a knife as they tried to disarm him.
Last night police were treating the attack as terrorism and revealed that the knifeman was known to ASIO – the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which is responsible for domestic security.
On its website, terror group Isis said: ‘The one who executed the ramming and stabbing operation in Melbourne… is one of the fighters of the Islamic State and he executed the operation in response to (a call) to target the citizens of the coalition.’
But the group offered no evidence to support its claim.
The killer was described as being a member of the Somali community in Melbourne, where he had arrived as a child in the 1990s.
It was revealed that one of his relatives had been arrested on terror-related charges last year.
The incident led to Melbourne’s new anti-terror warning sirens being set off for the first time.
People on the streets during a busy Friday rush-hour were urged to leave.
Yesterday’s terror in the heart
Lunged at police officers
of Australia’s second largest city began at 4.20pm when a car burst into flames after it crashed in Bourke Street.
Responding to reports of a car on fire, police found themselves confronted by the driver – dressed in a long dark tunic and white trousers and reportedly yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ – brandishing a knife and threatening them. Amid screams from bystanders, some in the crowd urged police to shoot the man, calling out that people had already been stabbed.
One man rolled a shopping trolley into the path of the attacker to keep him at bay. Another tried to fend the knifeman off with a traffic cone. Another witness told of seeing a pedestrian lying on the ground ‘face down, pools of blood around him’.
Prime minister Scott Morrison said he condemned the ‘act of terrorism’. Victorian state premier David Andrews said: ‘This is an evil and terrifying thing that has happened in our city.’
...before threatening and attacking police officers with a knife
Terror: The assailant, circled, set fire to his car...