Bourke Street Terror Attack 'Unsophisticated', 'Inspired' By ISIS
The terror attack in central Melbourne street was not sophisticated and may have been ISIS-inspired, authorities have said.
A 74-year-old man was stabbed to death and two other men injured when Hassan Khalif Shire Ali went on a deadly rampage along Bourke Street on Friday afternoon, after crashing his car loaded with gas bottles.
The 30-year-old, who lived in Melbourne's north-west and was Somali-born, was shot by police and died in hospital.
Australia Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney said Shire Ali had his passport cancelled due to fears he planned to travel to Syria in 2015, but was not deemed a threat to national security.
"I think it is fair to say he was inspired. He was radicalised," he told reporters on Saturday.
"Obviously, you know, with the rise of the caliphate and the propaganda that was put out on the internet ... we're not saying there was direct contact.
"We're saying it was more from an inspiration perspective."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison called out "radical, violent, extremist Islam", that "opposes our very way of life".
"I am the first to protect religious freedoms in this country, but that also means I must be the first to call out religious extremism," he said.
"Religious extremism takes many forms around the world and no religion is immune from it."
He applauded the "brave and passionate" Muslim Australians "who just want the best for their families".
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton confirmed on Friday night the attack was being treated as an incident of terrorism, later revealing Shire Ali had been a person of interest to them and federal intelligence authority ASIO.
Commissioner Ashton on Saturday said the attack was not sophisticated.
Police initially responded to reports of a vehicle on fire at the corner of Bourke and Swanston Streets. The dual cab Rodeo ute was quickly extinguished, with reports soon following of a knife attack.
Both officers who intervened were junior officers, with Commissioner Ashton revealing the officer who later shot Shire Ali had left the Victoria Police academy only three months ago.
"These members found themselves in a dangerous situation very quickly," he said.
"I think they acted bravely. They endeavoured to do their job, and I think they did that pretty effectively and bravely.
"They followed their training really, really well from what I could see. I'm proud of their efforts."
The identity of the man who died in the attack has been revealed as beloved cafe owner Sisto Malaspina.
The two other men are recovering at Royal Melbourne Hospital after having surgery.
Authorities are conducting two investigations, including search warrants at two addresses in Werribbee and Meadow Heights, in Melbourne's west.
Commissioner Ashton said police did not believe there were any ongoing threats, but were conducting "security reassessments" in relation to several events in Melbourne scheduled for the weekend.
"We have arranged for additional police to attend those events," he said.
"We are encouraging the community to continue to attend those attends through the weekend as they would normally do."
These were sentiments echoed by Prime Minister Morrison on Saturday, as he extended his sympathies to the victims' families.
"Get about your lives. Be Australians," the prime minister said as he concluded his press conference.
"We will never be intimidated by those who would seek to take away the very thing that we value more than anything, and that is how to live our lives in the way we choose to."