One dead after man sets auto set alight, stabs pedestrians in Melbourne

One dead after man sets auto set alight, stabs pedestrians in Melbourne

One dead after man sets auto set alight, stabs pedestrians in Melbourne

According to media reports, the IS had claimed responsibility for the attack via the Amaq news agency, which said the man was "one of Islamic State fighters" and had responded to IS calls for attacks in countries that are part of the worldwide coalition fighting the militants in Syria and Iraq.

"We are now treating this as a terrorism event", said Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton, adding that the suspect is "someone that is known to us" and had travelled to central Melbourne in a 4x4 packed with BBQ gas cyclinders.

Major disruptions are expected in the CBD on Friday evening, as details of a major incident in Bourke Street emerge. At the same time, passersby called out that members of the public had been stabbed.

"Equally, those strangers, people who were by-standers who knew nobody involved, who stepped in without a moment's hesitation, to render support and assistance to the fearless members of the Victoria Police, they too are people whose qualities make all of us proud as well".

Police identified the attacker as 30-year-old Hassan Khalif Shire Ali.

"There was only two police officers arrived at the time, within seconds of the incident".

He relentlessly thrusts the trolley at the man as he swings a knife in the direction of officers. "One of the officers fired his firearm and shot the offender once in the chest". One died later in the hospital, from the injuries sustained.

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He had a minor offending history of drug, theft, and driving offenses, according to the report.

The knifeman then set fire to his vehicle before exiting to stab three people.

A 24-year-old man from Hampton Park and a 58-year-old Launceston man, said to be Tasmanian businessman Rod Patterson, were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

One witness said the man was stabbed in the face and desperate efforts were made to save him.

"Because he was on his stomach, they turned him over to see if he's all right, he was still alive", the witness, Markel Villasin, told Australian Associated Press.

"He was breathing and he was bleeding out".

Video footage showed the attacker lunging at police with a knife as they tried to contain him.

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Victoria Police said officers "initially responded to a report of a auto on fire" in the city centre at around 4:20pm local time, as people began to leave work for the weekend.

Villasin said bystanders were screaming at police to shoot the knifeman.

The suspect punched an officer and threatened them with a knife.

Shire Ali is understood to have previously been investigated for his association with others linked to terrorism.

"For operational matters we now have the counter-terrorism command and the homicide squad dealing with this matter, and there are ongoing investigations being conducted by the counter-terrorism command", he continued.

Mr Morrison also urged Australians not to be intimidated by yesterday's attack.

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