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Melbourne knife attacker inspired by Islamic State, police say

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November 10, 2018 12:41


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 Fridays attack as 30-year-old Hassan Khalif Shire Ali and said he was radicalised and inspired by the militant groups propaganda. He was shot by police and died in hospital.

Police said Shire Alis 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.

Were not saying there was direct contact. Were saying it was more from an inspiration perspective.

Australia's 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.

Fridays 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.

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