Published: Sat, November 10, 2018

Melbourne attacker inspired by Islamic State: Australian police

Melbourne attacker inspired by Islamic State: Australian police

The full extent of the Bourke Street jihadi Hassan Khalif Shire Ali's botched attack in the heart of Melbourne has been revealed.

The cylinders did not explode and the fire was put out in 10 minutes, by which point the attack was over.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton confirmed Ali died in the hospital after being shot by police.

Members of the public have praised the "trolley man", who was seen twice attempting to ram the knife-wielding attacker with a shopping cart, shortly before police shot the offender in the chest. One of the victims later succumbed to the injuries, while two others are still receiving treatment. The other victims were described as a "26-year-old and a 58-year-old", both hospitalized with "non-life-threatening injuries".

Ashton also said police had searched two Melbourne properties on Saturday in relation to the attack, but that police did not believe there were any ongoing threats to the public.

Clayton added that the bomb squad had cleared the area and deemed it safe, and that fire crews had extinguished the burning vehicle. Sunday is also Remembrance Day, when memorial ceremonies for the First World War are held.

Mr Ashton said he believed the suspect moved to Australia from Somalia in 1990s, and that his family members have been known to police on terrorism-related matters.

"I've known [his father] for 30 years, he is a kind and respected man in the Somali community", one said. He declined to release their names because police were still in the process of contacting families.

The message over the loudspeakers says: "This is Victoria Police, please evacuate the area".

Here's what we know about the Bourke Street attacker. Australia has been on heightened alert from 2015 for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East.

Authorities say Australia's vigilance has helped to foil at least a dozen plots, including a plan to attack downtown Melbourne at Christmas in 2016.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the stabbing as an "evil and cowardly attack".

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.

A witness, Markel Villasin, told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio: "Bystanders were yelling out "just shoot him, just shoot him".

Ashton added that Counter Terrorism Command will investigate alongside Victoria police.

The area has been cordoned off, police said.

Friday's attack is a double blow for the city as it coincides with an ongoing the murder trial of 28-year-old James Gargasoulas, who ploughed his vehicle into crowds in the same area in 2017, killing six people. The City of Melbourne is in the process of installing bollards to block traffic access to pedestrian malls.

Like this: