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Melbourne knife attacks inspired by Islamic state, police say

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A Somali born man who fired a truck loaded with gas bottles in central Melbourne and killed…

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A Somali born man who fired a truck loaded with gas bottles in central Melbourne and killed a person in a fatal manner, inspired by the Islamic state but had no direct links to the Australian police group said on Saturday.

Police block the public from going to Bourke Street Mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 201

8. REUTERS / Sonali Paul

Police identified the man in charge of Friday’s attack as 30-year-old Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, saying he was radicalized and inspired by the militant group’s propaganda. He was taken care of by police and died in hospital.

Police said that Shire Ali’s Australian passports were terminated in 2015 following an intelligence report that he planned to travel to Syria, but it was estimated that while he had radical views, he did not constitute a threat to national security.

The Islamic state had claimed responsibility for the attack, which came two days before Memorial Day, which marked 100 years since the end of World War II, without giving any evidence.

“I think it is fair to say that he (Shire Ali) was inspired. He became radicalized,” the Australian deputy commissioner, Ian McCartney, told reporters in Melbourne.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the counseling of national terrorism remained “probable”, the centerpiece of a five-step system and told reporters Sydney that radical Islam was the problem.

“I have to call it. Radical, violent, extremist Islam that opposes our great lifestyle. I am the first to protect religious freedom in this country, but it also means that I must be the first to call out religious extremism, he said.

RUSH HOUR ATTACK

Friday’s attack began just before the evening speed and lasted only a few minutes. Shire Ali bumped the gunman and attacked the police while his commercial vehicle with gas cylinders fired on busy Bourke Street, [tsnrtrsrsQu5stX]

The cylinders exploded not the fire broke out in 10 minutes, with which the attack was over, but not until a man was deadly.

The police said he was a 74-year-old man who worked in the city but did not release his name. Local media identified him as a restaurant owner.

“This should not happen in a city like Melbourne”, a witness who returned to the scene on Saturday told Reuters, crying. “J I just want to forget about that, “she said.

Video published on Twitter and broadcast on television showed Shire Ali swinging a knife by two police officers while the truck burned in the background before collapsing when shooting him in the chest.

The Victoria police said that terrorist investigators sought two properties in the suburb of Melbourne in connection with the attack, but there was no immediate word for what the searches gave.

At a west-end, a modest one-storey brick house, armed civil servants wore barracks outside guard.

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

An incredible American Allied, Australia has been alert to such violence after a Sydney cafe siege in 2014, and its intelligence services have intensified the review. Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said there was no warning about the latest attack.

He said it was no longer a threat to the public, but that security would be raised on horses and memorials on the weekend.

The authorities say that Australia’s vigilance has helped to foil at least a dozen plots including a plan to attack Melbourne at Christmas 2016 and a plan to blow a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi using a bomb disguised as meatmacker.

Two hostages were killed during the 17-hour Sydney cafe siege of a “lone wolf” gunman inspired by Islamic state militants.

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

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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