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Australia: Melbourne attack: Man shot dead after fire and fatal stabbing

Isis claims responsibility

Saturday 10 November 2018, by siawi3


Melbourne attack: Man shot dead after fire and fatal stabbing

9.11.18 8 hours ago

Media captionThe attacker set a car on fire and stabbed three people

A man who set a car on fire and stabbed three people - one fatally - in the Australian city of Melbourne has died in hospital after being shot by police.

Authorities now say they are treating the attack as a terror-related.

The attacker, 31, was shot after confronting officers on a busy city street, authorities said. He was taken into custody in a critical condition.

The two survivors are in hospital, neither are in a serious condition. The suspect has not been named.

Police said they were “not looking for anyone further at this early stage”.

“We don’t believe there is an ongoing threat at this stage, but certainly we are treating it as a terrorism incident,” said Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton.

He said the suspect, who is of Somali origin, was “someone that is known” to both local police and federal intelligence, adding it was “mainly in respect to relatives” who are “certainly persons of interest to us”.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Footage from the scene showed police confronting the man

The Islamic State (IS) group said on Friday that one of its “fighters” was behind the attack, its Amaq news agency reported.
What happened in Melbourne?

Officers were initially called to reports of a car fire near Bourke Street, a busy thoroughfare, at about 16:20 local time (05:20 GMT), just before the evening rush hour.

Police later discovered that the vehicle was packed with “barbecue-style” gas cylinders. Footage circulating on social media shows the vehicle crashed into shop fronts, engulfed by flames.

However, the cylinders did not explode, police said.

“As they got out of the car, they were confronted by a male brandishing a knife and threatening them,” Supt David Clayton said at a news conference.

Image copyright Twitter/ChrisMacheras
Image caption The incident happened in the heart of Melbourne’s business district
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A burnt out vehicle was later seen on the same street

“At the same time, passers-by were calling out that members of the public had been stabbed.”

Other footage shared on Twitter shows at least two police officers confronting the man, who is brandishing a large knife. At one point, what appears to be a member of the public tries to help, using a shopping trolley to push the assailant back.

Who were the victims?

None of the three men reportedly stabbed at the scene have been officially named.

However Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman said on Twitter that local businessman Rod Patterson was among those attacked.

“A nicer bloke you wouldn’t meet,” Mr Hodgman tweeted. “It’s not surprising he would step in to help others. We all wish him well.”

According to Victoria Police, a 26-year-old and 58-year-old were both taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

A police officer was also treated at the scene

Is this the first time Melbourne has been attacked?

No. This incident comes as a man is on trial for a 2017 attack on the same street which left six people dead and dozens wounded.

James Gargasoulas is accused of deliberately driving his car into pedestrians on Bourke Street, hitting 33 people.

His defence barrister has said he was in a drug-induced psychosis at the time.

Last year, Australian police also arrested a man they alleged was trying to carry out an attack in the city over New Year’s Eve.



Melbourne terror attack: Isis claims responsibility for stabbing rampage after gas canisters found in attacker’s vehicle

Knife attacker shot dead by police while shoppers filmed on phones in busy street

Tim Wyatt

Police found gas canisters in a vehicle belonging to a man who stabbed three people in Melbourne before being shot dead by officers, in an attack that is now being treated as terrorism.

The attacker – and some of his relatives – was known to the police and Australian intelligence services, but his identity has not yet been released.

Isis has now claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement through their Amaq news agency that the man was one of their “fighters†.

The chief commissioner of Victoria Police, Graham Ashton, told reporters that an investigation by counter-terrorism officers had been launched.

Police were first called to reports of a car on fire but when they arrived, were attacked by the man, who was armed with a knife.

Videos taken by bystanders show a lengthy confrontation between the police and the attacker, as bewildered shoppers pass by.

The man lunges repeatedly at the two officers with his knife, while they attempt to incapacitate him with pepper spray and a taser.
Melbourne police treat stabbing incident as terrorism

One member of the public tries to help the police by hurling a metal shopping trolley at the knifeman as he charges across the street.

Eventually one of the officers draws his pistol and shoots the attacker in the chest, who then drops to the ground.

Melbourne knife attack

Mr Ashton said that the knifeman and the three others who were stabbed by him, were taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, but he and one of the victims have now died from their injuries.

The other two victims are still being treated in hospital, but their wounds are not thought to be life-threatening. They are 26 and 58 years old, while the attacker was 31, police said.

None of the victims have been formally named because police are still attempting to contact their families.

But Australian media have reported that one of those injured was a businessman called Rod Patterson. Mr Patterson’s wife, Maree, posted on social media that he was hurt but is “doing OK given the circumstances†.

When the fire brigade arrived to put out the blaze, they discovered that there were several “barbecue-style†gas canisters inside. A bomb disposal team was then called, who made the scene safe.

Witnesses reported seeing the man throw an object into his car after he crashed it, setting it on fire.

Police have not yet confirmed his intentions, but Mr Ashton said it was fair to infer that he hoped to turn the vehicle into a bomb.

The police officers attacked during the incident only suffered minor injuries and their “cuts and scratches†are being treated at a police station in Melbourne.

Mr Ashton, however, denied claims that the man had shouted “Allahu Akbar!†during the attack and said he had not tried to decapitate anyone. One of the stab victims had suffered “significant head injuries†.
Aerial footage of area of Bourke Street incident in Melbourne

The attacker was born in Somalia but moved to Australia during the 1990s and most recently lived in northwest Melbourne, the chief commissioner also said. He was a “person of interest†to both the Victoria state police and Australian federal intelligence services.

He also had a minor criminal record and had been convicted of cannabis use and theft in the past.

Scott Morrison, the prime minister, has condemned the “evil and cowardly attack†and paid tribute to the courage of the police officers who responded.

“Australians will never be intimidated by these appalling attacks and we will continue to go about our lives and enjoy the freedoms that the terrorists detest,†he said in a statement.

The premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, praised the bravery of both the police and members of the public who tried to stop the attacker.

“This is an evil and terrifying thing that has happened in our city today,†he said at the same press conference.

“Victorians can be assured that every member of Victoria Police are equal to the task, as they have demonstrated today. In the midst of tragedy you can find such pride in the work of bystanders to come to the aid of others.

“We will not, as a city and state, be defined by this act of evil. We will simply refuse to do that. We are bigger and stronger than this.

Mr Andrews also extended the “thoughts and prayers†of the city and state to everyone injured and “our deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased person†.

The leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten, who represents a constituency in the northwestern suburbs of Melbourne, echoed Mr Andrews’s words.
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“When evil attacks our city, Melbourne stands together,†he tweeted. “Once again Victorians are in awe of our extraordinary police officers, who responded to swiftly, bravely and professionally this afternoon, and the passers-by whose first instinct was to go to the aid of others.â€

Melburnians must refuse to be cowed by the terror attack and instead carry on as normal over the weekend, the chief commissioner concluded.

Extra police officers will be on duty at major public events including football matches and Remembrance Day commemorations but there was “no ongoing threat we are currently aware of†.

Anyone who saw the attack unfold or took photos and videos should share them with Victoria Police, he also said.



November 10, 2018 / 8:35 AM / Updated an hour ago

Melbourne police see Islamic State “inspiration” behind stabbings

Melanie Burton, Tom Westbrook

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - An Australian man who set fire to a truck laden with gas cylinders in the centre of Melbourne and stabbed one person to death was inspired by Islamic State but did not have direct links with the group, police said on Saturday.

Police identified the man responsible for Friday’s attack as Somali-born Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, 30, and said he was radicalised and inspired by the militant group’s propaganda. He was shot by police and died in hospital.

Police said Shire Ali’s Australian passport was cancelled in 2015 after an intelligence report he planned to travel to Syria, but an assessment was made that while he had radical views, he posed no threat to national security.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which came two days before Remembrance Day, marking 100 years since the end of World War One, without providing any evidence.

“I think it is fair to say he (Shire Ali) was inspired. He was radicalised,†Australian Federal Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Ian McCartney told reporters in Melbourne.

“We’re not saying there was direct contact. We’re saying it was more from an inspiration perspective.â€

Photo: Floral tributes can be seen outside Melbourne’s Pellegrini’s Cafe for Sisto Malaspina, the day after he was stabbed to death in an attack police have called an act of terrorism, in central Melbourne, Australia, November 10, 2018. AAP/James Ross/via REUTERS

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the national terrorism advisory remained at “probable†, the midpoint of a five-tier system, and told reporters in Sydney that radical Islam was the issue.

“I need to call it out. Radical, violent, extremist Islam that opposes our very way of life. I am the first to protect religious freedom in this country, but that also means I must be the first to call out religious extremism,†he said.


Friday’s attack began just before the evening rush hour and lasted only minutes. Shire Ali stabbed bystanders and attacked police while his utility truck carrying barbecue gas cylinders burned on busy Bourke Street. (

The cylinders did not explode and the fire was put out in 10 minutes, by which point the attack was over, though not before one man was fatally stabbed.

Police said he was a 74-year-old man who worked in the city, and did not release his name.

The man’s business partner identified him as Sisto Malaspina, co-owner of Pellegrini’s cafe, a Melbourne institution credited with forging the city’s famous coffee culture.

“Many, many tears have been shed,†the cafe’s co-owner. Nino Pangrazio, told The Age newspaper, and customers laid flowers and written tributes outside the cafe on Saturday.

“This shouldn’t happen in a city like Melbourne,†one witness who had returned to the scene on Saturday told Reuters, crying. “I just want to forget it,†she said.

Video posted to Twitter and broadcast on television showed Shire Ali swinging a knife at two police officers, while the truck burned in the background, before he collapsed when one shot him in the chest.

Victoria state police said counter-terrorism investigators were searching two properties in suburban Melbourne in connection with the attack, but there was no immediate word on what the searches yielded.

At one, a modest one-storey brick house on the city’s western fringe, armed officers wearing masks stood guard outside. Bourke Street also reopened on Saturday and a Reuters reporter said there was an increased police presence in the area.

One dead in Australian militant attack: police

A staunch U.S. ally, Australia has been on alert for such violence after a Sydney cafe siege in 2014, and its intelligence agencies have stepped up scrutiny. Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said there was no warning of the latest attack.

He said there was no longer a threat to the public, but that security would be boosted at horse races and Remembrance Day memorials over the weekend.

Authorities say Australia’s vigilance has helped foil at least a dozen plots, including a plan to attack Melbourne at Christmas in 2016 and a plan to blow up a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi using a bomb disguised as a meat mincer.

Two hostages were killed during the 17-hour Sydney cafe siege by a “lone wolf†gunman who was inspired by Islamic State militants.

Reporting by Tom Westbrook in SYDNEY and Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Nick Macfie