Melbourne Knife Attacker Radicalised, Inspired By ISIS


A burnt out vehicle is seen on Bourke Street in Melbourne, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.

The knife-wielding attacker killed one person and injured two others in a rush hour stabbing rampage in downtown Melbourne Friday, before being shot and captured by police.

The man who crashed a vehicle full of gas cylinders in the Melbourne CBD before stabbing three people in a terror attack has been identified as Hassan Khalif Shire Ali.

Witnesses told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that a four-speed utility truck sped down Bourke Street in the southern Australia city's central business district and crashed after missing a tram.

Dozens of disturbing images and videos from the incident have emerged on social media with the attack taking place in broad daylight.

Australian Federal Police's Ian McCartney says Hassan Khalif Shire Ali was known to have radical views.

The police officers who first responded to the scene received minor injuries.

Two officers got out of the auto and attempted to engage him.

He was shot in the chest after attempting to assault police officers and taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he died of his injuries around 30 minutes later. "They've done each and every one of us proud", he continued.

One witness said one of the stabbing victims, believed to be a man in his 60s who later died, was stabbed in the face, and that desperate efforts were made to save him. The suspect died later at a hospital.

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He had planned to set the vehicle on fire and ignite three gas bottles in the rear tray, creating a deadly fireball that would create chaos in the CBD, before he died at the hands of police.

It is not yet known how the fire began or whether he was carrying an explosive device, although the bomb squad was sent to secure the area.

Bourke Street reopened on Saturday morning, and a Reuters reporter said there was an increased police presence in the area.

In the past, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for some "lone wolf" attacks in which the assailant was later found to have no allegiance to the group.

Mr Ashton added: "From what we know of that individual we are treating this as a terrorism incident", adding that the police counter-terrorism command was working on the case as well as homicide detectives.

They also confirmed that he had been "inspired" by Isis, though it was as yet unclear what role, if any, the terrorist group played in Friday's attack.

He also mentions that, while the investigation is ongoing, this there is "no ongoing threat".

Commissioner Ashton also says there was no suggestion that Khalif was inspired by James "Dimitrious" Gargasoulas, who is now on trial facing six charges of murder after allegedly mowing down pedestrians in January 2017. In December, a different driver in Melbourne drove into more people, injuring at least 19.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the attack was "an evil, terrifying thing that's happened in our city".