Attacker had passport cancelled, tried to set off explosion
The lone terrorist who murdered a man in Melbourne’s Bourke Street was known to authorities for his radical views and had his passport cancelled amid concerns he would travel to Syria, Australian federal police say.
On Friday, Somalia-born Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, 30 pulled up in Bourke St in his four-wheeldrive, containing gas cylinders turned to their open position. He stabbed three men, with a man in his 60s dying at the scene and two others recovering in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police and civilians tried to subdue Shire Ali before a police officer shot him in the chest. Shire Ali later died in hospital.
Police believe he intended to cause an explosion, a plan that Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said ‘‘wasn’t sophisticated’’, with the car catching fire but not exploding.
Police are confident the event was a terrorist attack, which Islamic State has claimed responsibility for without evidence.
Australian Federal Police acting deputy commissioner Ian McCartney said Shire Ali was known to have held radical views, and his passport was cancelled in 2015.
He said it was believed Shire Ali was ‘‘inspired’’ by Isis rather than having direct links with the organisation. ‘‘The assessment was that person was not a threat at that time.’’
Additional security and a greater police presence were visible in Melbourne’s CBD yesterday.