A knife attack that left one dead and two others wounded Friday in Australia’s second-largest city in the middle of rush hour is linked to terrorism, police said.
The standoff in Melbourne came after police responded to reports of a burning vehicle. Officers were confronted by a man “brandishing a knife and threatening them,” while passers-by alerted police that people had been stabbed, Victoria state police Superintendent David Clayton, said.
The suspect, who wasn’t immediately identified, was shot by police and later died at a hospital. Officers tried to “talk the suspect down” and used a Taser before shooting him, Sky News Australia reported.
Video: Witness footage captures Melbourne attack as it unfolds
The man, who was originally from Somalia, was known to the police and the incident is being treated as terrorism, Victoria state police Commissioner Graham Ashton said.
It wasn’t clear whether the man deliberately set the vehicle on fire, Ashton said. There were gas canisters inside the vehicle, according to Sky News.
Melbourne attack terror related say police
The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attack through its propaganda wing, according to SITE Intelligence Group. However, terror organization didn't offer any evidence.
The two wounded stabbing victims were in the hospital. One had a head injury and the other suffered a neck injury, according to The Age. Their conditions weren’t made known.
A man has killed one person and wounded two others in a knife rampage in Melbourne that police are treating as a terror attack.
ISIS claims Melbourne stabbing; Australian police say attack linked to terror
Speaking at a news conference, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said that the suspect had “family associations that were well known” to police and that he was also known to Australias security agency.
“We dont believe there is an ongoing threat at this stage, but certainly we are treating it as a terrorism incident.”
The 31-year-old attacker, who has not been identified, was originally from Somalia but lived in Melbournes northwest.
Witnesses said the man had parked a vehicle on Bourke Street, a busy shopping area in Australias second-largest city, before it was seen in flames.
It is not yet clear whether he deliberately set the vehicle on fire but Mr Ashton said it had been laden with gas cylinders.
A video shared on Twitter clearly showed the attacker, a dark-skinned middle-aged man wearing a black sweatshirt, viciously swinging the knife he used to stab the civilians at police officers at the scene. The video also shows another individual, dubbed trolley man, quickly barging in with a trolley directly hitting the attacker and stalling him to buy the police some time.
Melbourne stabbing being treated as terrorism; suspect dies in hospital: Police
Police had been called to the car at 4.20pm local time on Friday, by which point the man had already started attacking bystanders.
Earlier, Superintendent David Clayton had said that when police arrived, they were “confronted by a male brandishing a knife and threatening them”.
“At the same time passers-by were calling out that members of the public had been stabbed,” he added.
Bourke Street attack: Brave man charges at terrorist with shopping trolley
Two members of the public came to the aid of police, one using a shopping trolley and another using a chair to try and stop the attacker.
One killed as man stabs shoppers and attacks police with knife on Melbournes Bourke Street
Social media footage showed the attacker trying several times to stab one of the officers before a second officer drew his gun and a single shot was heard.
“The perpetrator of the operation… in Melbourne… was an ISIS fighter and carried out the operation… to target nationals of the coalition” fighting ISIS, Amaq reported a militant security source as saying.
Sky News Australias Patrick Murrell said police had tried to “talk [the suspect] down and tried to use the Taser” before shooting him.
One person dead after stabbing in Melbournes Bourke St, another man shot dead by police
Islamic State has claimed the attack was carried out by one of its members, according to its propaganda agency Amaq. It provided no evidence, however.