At­tacker had pass­port can­celled, tried to set off ex­plo­sion

Sunday Star-Times - - WORLD -

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.

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