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Melbourne knife attacker inspired by Islamic State, police say

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Melbourne knife attacker inspired by Islamic State, police say

By Melanie Burton and Tom Westbrook

 

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Policemen block members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sonali Paul

 

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A Somali-born man who set fire to a truck laden with gas cylinders in the centre of Melbourne and fatally stabbed one person was inspired by Islamic State but did not have direct links with the group, Australian police said on Saturday.

 

Police identified the man responsible for Friday's attack as 30-year-old Hassan Khalif Shire Ali and said he was radicalised and inspired by the militant group's propaganda. He was shot by police and died in hospital.

 

Police said Shire Ali's Australian passport was cancelled in 2015 after an intelligence report he planned to travel to Syria, but an assessment was made that while he had radical views, he posed no threat to national security.

 

Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack, which came two days before Remembrance Day, marking 100 years since the end of World War One, without providing any evidence.

 

"I think it is fair to say he (Shire Ali) was inspired. He was radicalised," Australian Federal Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Ian McCartney told reporters in Melbourne.

 

"We're not saying there was direct contact. We're saying it was more from an inspiration perspective."

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the national terrorism advisory remained at "probable", the midpoint of a five-tier system, and told reporters in Sydney that radical Islam was the issue.

 

"I need to call it out. Radical, violent, extremist Islam that opposes our very way of life. I am the first to protect religious freedom in this country, but that also means I must be the first to call out religious extremism," he said.

 

RUSH HOUR ATTACK

 

Friday's attack began just before the evening rush hour and lasted only minutes. Shire Ali stabbed bystanders and attacked police while his utility truck carrying barbecue gas cylinders burned on busy Bourke Street.

 

The cylinders did not explode and the fire was put out in 10 minutes, by which point the attack was over, though not before one man was fatally stabbed.

 

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 shouldn't happen in a city like Melbourne," one witness who had returned to the scene on Saturday told Reuters, crying. "I just want to forget it," she said.

 

Video posted to Twitter and broadcast on television showed Shire Ali swinging a knife at two police officers, while the truck burned in the background, before he collapsed when one shot him in the chest.

 

Victoria state police said counter-terrorism investigators were searching two properties in suburban Melbourne in connection with the attack, but there was no immediate word on what the searches yielded.

 

At one, a modest one-storey brick house on the city's western fringe, armed officers wearing masks stood guard outside.

 

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

 

A staunch U.S. ally, Australia has been on alert for such violence after a Sydney cafe siege in 2014, and its intelligence agencies have stepped up scrutiny. Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said there was no warning of the latest attack.

 

He said there was no longer a threat to the public, but that security would be boosted at horse races and Remembrance Day memorials over the weekend.

 

Authorities say Australia's vigilance has helped foil at least a dozen plots, including a plan to attack Melbourne at Christmas in 2016 and a plan to blow up a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi using a bomb disguised as a meat mincer.

 

Two hostages were killed during the 17-hour Sydney cafe siege by a "lone wolf" gunman who was inspired by Islamic State militants.

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-11-10

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3 hours ago, giddyup said:

And this affects the story how?

Yes, a truck is a truck, small truck is 3 tonne, a ute is a Car with the back modified can carry at the max 750 Kg

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5 minutes ago, digger70 said:

Yes, a truck is a truck, small truck is 3 tonne, a ute is a Car with the back modified can carry at the max 750 Kg

Once again, how important is it to the story? BTW, I'm Aussie so I know what a ute is, I just found it strange that Chook had to point it out.

Edited by giddyup

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13 minutes ago, giddyup said:

Once again, how important is it to the story? BTW, I'm Aussie so I know what a ute is, I just found it strange that Chook had to point it out.

  I pointed it out because the story said, "truck laden with gas cylinders"  which was totally false and misleading.  very over sensationalise.   It was a ute with 2 cylinders in the rear not a heavily loaded truck.

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1 hour ago, Thechook said:

  I pointed it out because the story said, "truck laden with gas cylinders"  which was totally false and misleading.  very over sensationalise.   It was a ute with 2 cylinders in the rear not a heavily loaded truck.

Thanks, that puts a whole different perspective on the story. Not.    This is what was quoted in the news item above: "Friday's attack began just before the evening rush hour and lasted only minutes. Shire Ali stabbed bystanders and attacked police while his utility truck carrying barbecue gas cylinders burned on busy Bourke Street."  News item states it was a utility and doesn't mention how many cylinders, so I don't see anything misleading at all.

Edited by giddyup

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7 hours ago, giddyup said:

Thanks, that puts a whole different perspective on the story. Not.    This is what was quoted in the news item above: "Friday's attack began just before the evening rush hour and lasted only minutes. Shire Ali stabbed bystanders and attacked police while his utility truck carrying barbecue gas cylinders burned on busy Bourke Street."  News item states it was a utility and doesn't mention how many cylinders, so I don't see anything misleading at all.

We must have different stories above.  From the story on Thai Visa  MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A Somali-born man who set fire to a truck laden with gas cylinders in the centre of Melbourne and fatally stabbed one person was inspired by

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Back in the early 70's, when I worked in Melbourne City, I went to Pellegrini's at least twice a week. Coffee, pasta, the occasional wicked cake. Sisto would not have known me at all, apart from facially perhaps, yet the greeting and atmosphere was uplifting. When I heard of his death, I felt sad. He was one of those remarkable happy and efficient people who give your spirit a lift.

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23 hours ago, rooster59 said:

Police said Shire Ali's Australian passport was cancelled in 2015 after an intelligence report he planned to travel to Syria

Should of let him travel and then cancelled it.

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8 hours ago, nahkit said:

Should of let him travel and then cancelled it.

Disagree. We all know members of IS (including those from western countries) carry out many murders of innocents and use rape as a tool of war. it is the responsibility of our governments not to allow persons to travel overseas to commit murder and other crimes against humanity. Sadly the threat to Australians represented by the murderer in the OP was underestimated. Guess the Oz government needs to review and possibly enact additional anti terrorism legislation from knowledge gained from this attack.

Edited by simple1
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