Isil claims stab­bing at­tack in Mel­bourne

Irish Independent - - World News - Jonathan Pearl­man SYD­NEY

A MAN went on a stab­bing spree in the cen­tre of Mel­bourne yes­ter­day af­ter ap­par­ently set­ting a car alight, killing one per­son and bring­ing the city to a stand­still.

Po­lice be­lieve the deadly at­tack by a So­mali-born Aus­tralian was an act of ter­ror­ism, pos­si­bly de­signed to de­stroy a ve­hi­cle filled with gas cylin­ders in the city cen­tre.

The man, who died af­ter be­ing shot by po­lice, set a four­wheel drive car on fire be­fore stab­bing three men, in­clud­ing one who died in hos­pi­tal.

Isil claimed the at­tack, its pro­pa­ganda chan­nel said.

“The per­pe­tra­tor of the op­er­a­tion... in Mel­bourne... was an Is­lamic State fighter and car­ried out the op­er­a­tion... to tar­get na­tion­als of the coali­tion” fight­ing Isil, Amaq re­ported a ji­hadist se­cu­rity source as say­ing.

Gra­ham Ash­ton, chief of Vic­to­ria State po­lice, said the man was known to coun­tert­er­ror­ism agen­cies through his “fam­ily as­so­ci­a­tions”. “His fam­ily mem­bers are cer­tainly known to us from a ter­ror­ism per­spec­tive,” he said.

Mr Ash­ton said the man moved from So­ma­lia in the 1990s to Mel­bourne’s north­west sub­urbs. He had con­vic­tions for cannabis use, theft and driv­ing of­fences but not for vi­o­lent of­fences.

Some wit­nesses claimed he was yelling “Al­lahu ak­bar”, though po­lice said this was not con­firmed. They added they did not be­lieve there was an on­go­ing threat.

Ac­cord­ing to ‘The Her­ald Sun’, the man had his pass­port can­celled sev­eral years ago.

Vic­to­ria’s pre­mier, Daniel An­drews, con­demned the “act of evil” and pledged the city would “go about our busi­ness this week­end and ev­ery week­end”.

“This is an evil, ter­ri­fy­ing thing that’s hap­pened in our city and state,” he said. “We con­demn it… We’ll not be de­fined by this act of evil.”

Po­lice said the car was parked be­fore be­ing set alight.

“There were gas bot­tles – I un­der­stand at this stage they are bar­be­cue-style gas bot­tles – within the ve­hi­cle,” Com­mis­sioner Ash­ton said.

Footage taken by wit­nesses showed po­lice shoot­ing the man af­ter he threat­ened them with an ob­ject that ap­peared to be a knife. Wit­nesses said the car ex­ploded be­fore the man be­gan stab­bing peo­ple.

“He seemed to be wav­ing some­thing, peo­ple around me screamed that he had a knife, but I couldn’t see clearly from where I was,” a wit­ness told ABC News. “And then I heard one loud bang. It sounded like a gun­shot.”

Sarah Werk­meis­ter, a wit­ness, told ‘The Her­ald Sun’: “All I saw was the car on fire, and the po­lice cuff­ing some­one on the ground. Peo­ple who’d seen it told me they heard shots be­ing fired, and ev­ery­one heard an ex­plo­sion that was like the petrol ex­plod­ing.” (© Daily Tele­graph, Lon­don)

Fa­tal: One per­son died in the ter­ror at­tack in south-east Aus­tralia

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