A sniper attacking a person injured two others before being killed by the police in Australia's second largest city had…
A sniper attacking a person injured two others before being killed by the police in Australia’s second largest city had links to the Islamic state and the abuse was treated as a terrorist attack, the authorities said.
The suspect, who died in the hospital soon after the robbery in Melbourne on Friday, was identified by the police as 30-year-old Hassan Khalif Shire Ali. The police said he and his relatives were previously known to the authorities. Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton, who heads the state police in Melbourne, said the man came to Australia decades ago and did not dispute a reporter’s statement at a press conference that he came from Somalia.
The authorities said on Saturday that Shire Ali’s passport was interrupted in 201
5 when he planned to travel to Syria, where Islamic state militants until recently controlled large parts of the country in a so-called caliphate. Shire Ali held radical opinions, but it was decided that he did not constitute a national security threat, the authorities said.
The assault is a reality check, “said Ian McCartney, deputy commissioner for national security at the Australian federal police. “Even with the caliphate’s fall in the conflict zone, the threat continues to be real.”
Mr. McCartney said the attacker had been inspired and radicalized by the Islamic state. The police also said they conducted search options at two addresses in the suburbs of Melbourne on Saturday morning.
The attack began just after 16:00 when the man parked a vehicle in a busy shopping district in the city’s neighborhood. A fire started in the vehicle and Ashton said the prosecutor “engaged” with passers-by before the police arrived a minute later.
Footage published by Australian Broadcasting Corp. showed a man who was lunging and slashing officer with what appeared to be a knife while a vehicle was on fire nearby. Mr. Ashton said firefighters later discovered that there were gas containers in the vehicle. Some witnesses said they heard that two explosions came from the vehicle, a pickup truck according to the video from the scene.
Vehicles have been used in terrorist attacks in recent years, including in Barcelona, London, New York and Nice, France. Melbourne has recently installed obstacles to help protect pavements from potential attacks.
str / epa-efe / rex / shutterstock
The assault split what is usually a festive time in Melbourne, which was hosted by the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, a horse race so popular there is a holiday in the city on the day it is held each year. The city also grew up for Christmas-related parties.
Charmaine Pisevski, 20, bought clothes from her mother in a shop when customers heard an explosion. When they were evacuated to the street, Mrs Pisevski said that they were about 20 meters from the vehicle, which was immersed in flames. She saw a man who swung in police, shook and screamed.
The man did not seem to be in the correct state of mind, she said. “I could not find out what he said. You had the fire running. Everyone panicked.”
Ms. Pisevski said that she eventually heard two shots. The police said that the man whose record included cannabis use, theft and driving offense was shot in the chest.
Melbourne has been affected by other acts of violence in recent times. In December last year, an Australian man of Afghan origin plunged a car to a crowd injured more than a dozen; a victim died later. It took place just a few blocks from where Friday’s events were developed. The police at that time said it was unlikely that the event in December was terrorist-related.
In January 2017 another man drove a car through the center of Melbourne and killed six people. ABC reported that the man was considered to be in a drug-induced psychosis and the attack was not considered to be terrorist related. He is on trial this week.
Write to Mike Cherney at [email protected]