Australia: Several people stabbed in Melbourne ′terror′ attack | News | DW | 09.11.2018
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Australia: Several people stabbed in Melbourne 'terror' attack

One person has died and two others have been injured after being stabbed by a man in the center of the southeastern Australian city of Melbourne. Police said they are treating the attack as terrorism.

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'Islamic State' inspired Melbourne attacker

A knife-wielding man fatally stabbed one person and injured two others in the Australian city of Melbourne on Friday, after allegedly setting his truck ablaze in the city center.

The male suspect was shot by police and was taken to the hospital where he later died. The two people who sustained stab wounds are receiving medical treatment. One victim died on the scene.

Australian police later said they were treating the knife attack in Melbourne as a "terrorism event," adding that the suspect was originally from Somalia and was known to intelligence authorities.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton told reporters that they are "doing security reassessments of these events in light of what's occurred," but there was "no ongoing threat we're currently aware of in relation to people surrounding this individual."

The militant "Islamic State" (IS) group claimed Friday's attack on the group's Amaq news website, saying that one of its fighters carried out the attack. The group provided no evidence for the claim.

Burning car in Melbourne (Reuters/Social Media)

The attacker drove a pickup truck that was carrying several gas cylinders when it was set on fire

Gas cylinders in burning vehicle

Police first responded to reports of a car on fire in the Melbourne's crowded Bourke Street, when they encountered the suspect, who was attacking bystanders. Local media showed footage of a man stabbing at police officers before being shot in the chest.

The 4x4 was carrying several gas cylinders, according to authorities. None of the cylinders exploded and firefighters were able to put out the blaze within 10 minutes.

Ashton said that assailant had intended to create a car explosion but the gas cylinders failed to ignite. 

"It looks like he's attempted to ignite a fire in the car, we believe at this stage with a view to igniting those canisters with some sort of explosion, but that didn't eventuate," Ashton told Australia's Channel 9 TV network.

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

Melbourne is Australia's second largest city, a metropolis of almost 5 million people famed for its cafes, bars, restaurants and high standard of living.

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 drove his car into crowds in the same area in 2017, killing six people.

rs, tj/sms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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