Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Australian police treating deadly knife attack as terrorism

Australian police treating deadly knife attack as terrorism

Australian media identified the deceased suspect as a 31-year-old Somali male.

One victim died at the scene and the attacker died later in hospital.Counter-terrorism police and intelligence officers are still piecing together how the incident occurred, but said the attacker was known to intelligence services. The man was shot in the chest by police.

One of the officers shot the man and he collapsed to the ground clutching his chest, the video showed. He died in hospital.

Police believe he meant to cause an explosion in the city centre, a plan that Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said "wasn't sophisticated", with the vehicle catching fire but not exploding.

IS, which often claims responsibility for such attacks, has also done so in this case, though it presented no evidence that the man had direct affiliations with the group.

Another witness on a passing tram told ABC Radio it seemed police had been trying to subdue a man who was waving something.

A fire then started in the vehicle, according to Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton, who spoke during a news conference.

Armed officers raided two addresses in the west and northeast of the city, linked to the perpetrator's family and associates, although there is not thought to be an ongoing threat.

"Obviously, a focus of the investigation will be ... how and why and when and where he moved along that path of radicalisation".

Police are treating the incident as a terror attack.

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

Additional security and a greater police presence has been placed in Melbourne's CBD for today.

Bourke Street has since been reopened, and Melbourne residents are advised that planned weekend events at Flemington and Remembrance Day commemorations will still go ahead as planned.

She told reporters it was "wonderful" to see Melburnians coming back into the city centre.

A fearless bystander dubbed "Trolley Man" has been praised for his selfless actions in his attempt to halt the knife-wielding man who stabbed three people in Melbourne. He was known to authorities because some of his family members were "persons of interest", Ashton said.

"You're trained to shoot to kill, not to shoot to wound".

Bourke Street Mall, a pedestrian strip and shopping area popular with foreign tourists including Japanese, was previously the scene of auto rampage in 2017 that left six people dead.

They won't know until toxicology reports come through in several days whether he was affected by drugs at the time of the attack.

Australia has been on alert for such violence after a Sydney cafe siege in 2014, and its intelligence agencies have stepped up scrutiny, though police said there was no warning of the latest attack.

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