A French man has been detained after stabbing a British woman to death in the state of Queensland, police say. They say the man allegedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the attack, but his motivation remains unclear.
Australian police said Wednesday they had detained the 29-year-old man, a French national who had been in Australia on a temporary visa for some months, at a hostel in the town of Home Hill, south of the Queensland city of Townsville.
They said a 21-year-old British woman was found dead at the scene, and a 30-year-old British man was in hospital after receiving critical injuries. A local man was also wounded in the knife attack, but was released after treatment.
Local broadcaster ABC said the dead woman was in Australia on a working holiday.
Queensland Police Service Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the attacker had allegedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" - an Arabic phrase meaning "God is great" - both during the attack and while being arrested.
However, Gollschewski said that the man did not appear to have any links to radical Islamists including the jihadist group "Islamic State," which has called for attacks on Westerners.
"While this information will be factored into the investigation, we are not ruling out any motivations at this early stage, whether they be political or criminal," he told reporters in the Queensland state capital of Brisbane.
"Investigators will also consider whether mental health or drug misuse factors are involved in this incident," he added.
He said that the investigation for homicide was ongoing and that authorities would explore "if there is any extremist slant or radicalization."
The man was being treated in hospital under police custody for injuries to his arms, Golleschewski said.
tj/ (AP, dpa)